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Monday, July 1, 2013 - 12:30am

New Era For The State Archives

The state Archives is now under the control of the University System of Georgia. On July 1st it was transferred from under the Secretary of State’s office after budget cuts reduced staff. At one point, access to the Georgia Archives was by appointment only.

That led to a public outcry. Dr. Todd Groce, president of the Georgia Historical Society, says he believes the Board of Regents will fight harder to support the Archives.

He says “The funding is considerably higher in the FY-14 budget, the upcoming state budget than it was previously. And I think that, right there, demonstrates that at least in terms of funding, that this was a good move.” But Groce says more needs to be done to show the vital role of the Archives, which keeps state and local government records.

A budget increase of $300,000 for the new fiscal year will be used to expand operations at the facility in Morrow.

Lynnette Stoudt, president of the Society of Georgia Archivists, says the changes will allow more public access. “Three additional professional positions will be rehired and this, of course will increase the staff hours. And the Archives will be open to the public two additional days per week, opening up the collections to scholars, genealogists and residents of our state.”

Starting July 31st, the Archives will be open to the public from 8:30am to 5pm Wednesday through Saturday.

Stoudt says while the increased staff will help, more professionals are needed in the conservation lab. She says that involves disaster planning on ways to protect public records statewide in case of a natural or man-made disaster.

Archives staff has begun discussing partnership opportunities to engage university students and faculty in its work. The Archives' popular "Lunch and Learn" lecture series, which is presented the second Friday of each month from noon until 1pm in the Archives will continue, according to Christopher Davidson, Georgia Archives director.

The facility holds more than 80,000 cubic feet of records.

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