Supporters of the Georgia Archives want to set the record straight: the governor’s proposed $4.3 million budget doesn’t add any new positions to the archives staff. Nor does it add more time to the hours the Morrow facility is open to the general public.
Things are as they have been, limited to three days a week.
“The confusion comes from showing the five employees in the records center,” said Karen Quigley, an Emory archivist and a member of The Coalition to Preserve the State Archives. “It looks like additional positions, but it’s just staffing between two units.”
The current budget isn’t enough to provide full access to the archives, advocates say. It would take $1.5 million to make the archives fully accessible to the public, meaning that it would be open on weekdays.
“Access is more than just a warm body in a reading room,” Quigley said. “You need enough staff to arrange the materials brought into the archives so people can use them.”
Quigley, and other archives supporters, applaud the decision to move the archives under the administrative wing of the Board of Regents. Diane Cannestra, president of the Friends of Georgia Archives and History (FOGAH), said her organization appreciates and supports "the Governor’s proposal to transfer the Archives to the University System of Georgia and are looking toward a brighter future for the Archives."
If the Regents take over the State Archives, Quigley believes the arrangement will be similar to what happened a few years ago when the Regents assumed responsibility for the state library system.
"Giving oversight to the Board of Regents will put the archives in a more supportive position within the government," she said. "There'll be more people who understand what archives are and how to manage them. We hope that would mean an increased budget but we don’t know if that’s true."
Both Quigley and Cannestra encourage people to contact their state representatives and encourage them to support more funding for the Georgia Archives.
The Coalition to Preserve the Georgia Archives includes representatives of the Friends of Georgia Archives, Society of Georgia Archivists, Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board Association County Commissioners of Georgia; Georgia Professional Genealogists; Georgia State Society, Daughters of the American Revolution; Troup County Historical Society; Cobb County Genealogical Society; Georgia Genealogical Society and Georgia Salzburger Society, among many others.
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