September 22, 2014

Budget Cuts: Georgia To End Public Access to State Archives

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UPDATE (9/19): Deal Pledges to Keep Georgia Archives Open But But Staff Will Be Laid Off

Gov. Nathan Deal pledged Wednesday to keep the Georgia Archives open, buoying the hopes of archives supporters still stunned by an announcement last week to sharply curtail public access because of budget cuts.

The promise, however, came after seven of the archive’s remaining 10 full-time staff members learned they will be laid off starting Nov. 1, when regular hours cease.

UPDATE (9/18): Text of Letter By ALA President Expressing “Deep Concern and Dismay” About Closing of State of Georgia Archives To Public

The letter was sent to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. From the Letter:

“Although some of the materials at the Georgia Archives have been digitized, the vast majority are still only accessible through a personal visit. Closing the Archives to the public is counter to the tenets of open government and to the principle of open access to information that undergirds our democracy. This is why no other state has closed access to its state archives to the public.”

UPDATE (9/15): Supporters rally against Georgia Archives closure (via AJC.com)

A firestorm has erupted over the state’s decision to sharply curtail public access to the Georgia Archives.

The announcement late Thursday quickly became a cause celebre for academics and family genealogists alike as thousands signed online petitions and Facebook pages through the weekend.

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From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced Thursday the archives starting Nov. 1 will accept only limited public appointments to see Georgia’s important and historical records dating to at least 1733. Some of the institution’s 10 full-time employees also will lose their jobs, although just how many has not yet been determined.

The move, which comes in response to Gov. Nathan Deal’s request for state agencies to again trim spending, could make Georgia the only state in the nation without full-time, centrally located public access to historical government and state records, Kemp said.

No word yet on how many workers will have to be laid off.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: WSAV-TV Provides Access to the Full Text of the Secretary of State Announcement

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.