Happy Valentine’s Day from Denton County!

Recently, I got an unexpected, delightful email from Denton County.  I’m used to getting emails asking me records questions, advertising relevant webinars and events, and reminders from my bosses, but I had never, ever, EVER gotten a valentine, much less a RECORDS MANAGEMENT THEMED valentine!  Look at how adorable these are!

I took the opportunity to ask the creator, Holly Dolan, a few questions about her program and this project.

Tell me a little about your program.

Our records management team is made up of a group of seven Records Technicians who provide customer service, complete scanning projects, and run our records center which includes a climate controlled warehouse that stores about 30,000 cubic feet of records from over 35 different county departments. The warehouse team provides delivery of boxes and pickup of their records. Our staff fulfills the PIA requests for the records that we store in the warehouse or on microfilm. We do all of our microfilming in house, so our space includes a fully equipped darkroom. We also do fully confidential destruction of our records on-site. Our department manager is Theresa Rogers. In addition to being the RMO for the entire county, she is in charge of our preservation efforts. I’m the assistant manager for our department and my main focus is electronic records. My current efforts are more geared towards outreach and education because we’ve seen the need for more knowledge and buy-in before implementing an electronic records system.

We also have 67 Records Liaison Officers in the various departments across our county. These liaisons are appointed by each elected official or department head to be a point of contact for us in policy implementation, training, and sharing information. They’re our primary audience when we do outreach.  Denton County Records Management is very fortunate to be organized under the county’s Department of Technology Services (DTS). DTS gives us an amazing amount of support, so we’re really excited about the future of our program especially the possibilities in managing our electronic records.

Have you ever created something like this for outreach before?  What made you think of creating valentines?

My goal with records management outreach has been to make all of our complicated and technical information easier to digest. I figure that people are more likely to read something that includes pictures. My first stab at this was creating a colorful infographic that explains the duties and qualifications of our Records Liaison Officers. We’ve also been trying to use the holidays as an opportunity to touch base with our Records Liaisons and send out some helpful information. So for New Years, we sent out a message with information on how to use records management techniques to stay more organized in the upcoming year.

The idea for the cards came from when I was working in a university library and my co-workers and I would trade small valentine cards—the kind that kids trade in elementary school. Our favorites were library themed cards with puns like, “Dewey belong together?” When I looked online to see if there were any records management themed cards, I couldn’t find anything—so it was up to me to fix that! When I was first designing them, my goal was honestly just to make my co-workers laugh. Then I realized that each of the cards had a great records management “vocabulary word” on them. What a great learning tool for our Records Liaisons! I took the opportunity to update our online records management glossary and sent the valentines out with a message inviting the liaisons to brush up on their records management terms with the glossary.

Do you have any plans for future outreach efforts?

Our next big outreach effort is a Records Management 101 training. We’re excited about this training because of how interactive it is. It includes some game ideas that we got from attending TSLAC seminars and read on “The Texas Record” so we’re very thankful to have SLRM as an inspiration. We’ll also be offering this training in-house in our various departments. With such a large county that’s spread out so far geographically, it’s important to be flexible and provide resources in the most convenient way possible.

How has this helped increase the visibility of your program?  How have people responded?

The response to the cards have been great. A few of our Records Liaisons that we rarely hear from have responded to say how fun they were. Working in government, I think it can be hard to find the balance where your customers find you approachable. As a records manager, my liaisons are my customers and I need them to trust me and feel like they can talk to me if I’m going to have any success in helping them. I think that every time we send something out that’s light-hearted and also useful, it breaks down that wall a little bit more.

A big thanks to Holly and the whole Denton County RM Team!  If you have something about your RM program that you’d like to share, email us at slrminfo@tsl.texas.gov for a chance to be featured on The Texas Record.

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