The following is an announcement from the Council of State Archivists Advocacy Committee:
In February the National Historical Publications and Records Commission was again "zeroed out" in the President's proposed budget for FY 2007. No money at all for grants, no money for the administration of NHPRC. The Society of American Archivists, the Council of State Archivists, and the National Association of Government Archivists and Records Administrators are, therefore, advocating a funding level for NHPRC of $20 million.
We are asking you to assist by writing letters, passing resolutions of support, and visiting with your Senators and House members to ask for their support. We also ask that you spread the word by identifying and working with additional groups and individuals who can help in this advocacy effort.
In the past few weeks we have gathered information and developed materials to use in reaching out to members of Congress. While it is beneficial to send letters to your representatives, particular effort must be made in those states whose members of Congress are on the key committees and subcommittees dealing with appropriations: the House and Senate Appropriations committees and the House and Senate subcommittees on Treasury, Transportation, HUD and Related Agencies (T-THUD).
Your letters will have the most benefit in the next few weeks. House testimony is due by April 14, and the testimony that individuals and organizations submit will be strengthened immeasurably by the stories that you have to tell. Letters should come from people who have received NHPRC grants or from people who have benefited from the projects - genealogists, local government officials, historians, teachers, etc. In particular, we'd ask you or those you know who may have connections to the member of Congress to seek them out and encourage support for $20 million in funding for NHPRC. Often we think we can't reach these individuals, but if you don't have a connection yourself, then just by asking around you may find that someone you know or with whom you work has a connection to a key staff member or legislator. We are all constituents ourselves - and sometimes calling or making an appointment to visit your Congressperson or a staff member in the home office can have surprising results. Give it a try!
Letters FAXED before April 14 would be perfectly timed to get their attention. Email is not given much credence because of the quantity that comes in, and postal mail is irradiated, adding literally weeks of time to receipt. The mid-level Fax technology works best for this.
On the website: savearchives.pbwiki.com are several documents to assist you with this effort:
- "Guidelines for Writing Letters to Members of Congress Regarding NHPRC Funding for 2007" includes information to guide you in developing the content of your letter(s).
- "A Partnership for the American Historical Record" describes the new initiative for state-based formula grants to help preserve and make accessible essential records.
- A Fact Sheet on NHPRC provides more details that may be helpful for letters, phone calls, and visits.
Our final request is that you update us on your progress. If you could forward copies of your letters to us that would be very helpful. At the very least, we'd like to track how many letters go to each member of Congress and from whom so that we can be sure there is a good flow of mail to each person.
Despite the general budget woes of the world, we have a unique opportunity to greatly improve the resources available to all of our institutions and all of our states. This is a crucial time for us to help ensure that NHPRC has the appropriate funding for national grants and for formula-based grants to our states. Please join us in taking advantage of this opportunity to strengthen archives throughout our nation. We appreciate your efforts on behalf of these important programs. If you have questions, or can let us know of the letters/calls you've made, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Society of American Archivists
Nancy Beaumont, Executive Director
Council of State Archivists
Kathleen Roe, Chair, CoSA Advocacy Committee
National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators