06 May 2013

"Five years later, Iowa still in need of state archivist"

My news feed had that headline to an article this morning. The article states "Recent data compiled by the Council of State Archivists, a national organization of state records executives, indicates that Iowa ranks near the bottom of the nation’s 50 states in its commitment to state records preservation. In fact, Iowa is the only state in the nation without a state archivist and no pending action to fill the nearly five year vacancy."

I have researched at the state archives location in Des Moines and found it to be challenging. Equipment, finding aids, and records were all a challenge. Until recently the website lacked much as far as cataloging and is still far from helpful to people wishing to delve deeper into the history of Iowa and its people. I am sure it's frustrating to the remaining staff who struggle to keep up.

Hopefully those with the power to affect change will learn that the news is spreading and will work toward a solution. A great archivist and staff make all types of historical research so much easier. When I talk about Midwestern Research or about repositories of the Midwest, it's difficult to include Iowa as there isn't much that can be used for screen shots. Children with school assignments, news reporters, authors, genealogists, military researchers, history buffs, as well as Iowa history itself, need a leader to bring the state archives in Iowa up to snuff.

Thankfully, there are many records filmed by the Family History Library and that provides a lot of help. Many local level courthouses and genealogical societies offer more help. 

Read the entire article in the Press-Citizen.con.com here.

1 comment:

Marcie Garnett said...

Thank you for posting this, Paula. I, too, have experienced the frustration of trying to conduct Iowa research at the State Archives. Hopefully, those with the power to do something will see the importance of this.