Thursday, August 9, 2007

Another archivist bites the dust (No, not me.), an archival fieldtrip

There was some momentous news today at the Small Religious Archive (SRA) where I have been working this summer. The Archivist has announced that he will be resigning in some weeks. There are several reasons that this decision was made, which I consider entirely reasonable. The Archivist has worked at SRA for three or four years. Since the SRA's budget is too small for a real salary (If I were to offer an opinion: an absolute minimum salary of perhaps $45,000 Canadian in my vague estimation... I know that the British consider £20,895 a minimum archival salary ($42,000 Canadian), the Archivist has been splitting his time between SRA and the city's Public Library. After working six days a week for a year and having several interesting initiatives quashed for lack of funding, he has had enough of it. He is going to be based at the Public Library exclusively in the future.

I found this announcement very depressing. I rather like the SRA Archivist and am sad to see him leave the post. At the same time, I agree with him that the salary offered at SRA is insufficent and that making ends meet by working two jobs like this is quite taxing. The lack of job security has me thinking twice about going into the archival career. The fact that Religious Organization clearly considers the archive a bottom tier expense is discouraging.

The other event of note today was an archival field trip. We visited a church about an hour's drift away and collected quite a lot of their materials. Of course, the materials were stored in this terrible, dank room. I can see moisture damage in some cases, but I really have no idea how to perform conservation on such things.

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