NAGARA Celebrates 35th Anniversary at the Annual Conference

The National Association of Government Archivists and Records Administrators held their annual conference in St. Paul, Minnesota July 18-20. SLRM was fortunate to be able to send four staff this year. In addition to myself, Senior Government Information Analysts Megan Carey, Bonnie Zuber and Erica Wilson-Lang attended as well.

The opening night reception was held at the Minnesota State Historical Society. We got a behind the scenes look at the state archives operations. And the records manager in me geeked out at the 20-foot-tall records stacks with the corridor tunnel to maximize every inch of space in the room and stepping into the largest freight elevator I’ve ever seen in a state building. I swear we could drive our 22-foot box truck directly onto the elevator to drop boxes off on another floor.

Laurence Brewer, Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government

The education program kicked off with keynote speakers from NARA announcing the newest memo on the transition to electronic record at the federal level. The sessions were once again amazing. I appreciate how NAGARA mixes in theoretical and practical sessions that cover local, state, and federal archives and records initiatives.

Professional conferences in general are a great way to take a step back from the day-to-day grind of focusing on the next task to allow you to think about the big picture again and to network with colleagues. This year NAGARA gave us an opportunity to see how one state took their interactive classes to the next level by gamifying their records management training, another session walked us through their 18-month journey of identifying electronic resources and mapping them to their retention schedule, and while the session on blockchain technology was a bit over my head, it was reassuring to know that people a lot smarter than me are looking at ways the technology could be adopted for archives and government records use. These were just a few of the many great opportunities we had to get our creative juices flowing

Celebrating their 35th anniversary this year, NAGARA closed out the last night of the conference with an 80s themed riverboat cruise reception. Many attendees went totally to the max wearing some rad outfits as we churned down the mighty Mississippi River, dancing to some of our favorite 80s pop hits (for some of us from our youth, for others from the “classic 80s music” they listened to in high school).

Each year the content at NAGARA gets better. So I’m looking forward to see what’s next in Denver in 2020.

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