Dear Governor Deal,
I am writing as both a citizen of Georgia and as an archivist to ask you to intervene in the proposed closure of the Georgia Archives. In addition, I hope that you and your budget office will find a way to restore some of the previous cuts and return the Archives to five days per week of public access hours.
I am disappointed in Secretary Kemp’s plan to allow the Archives to absorb all of his office’s three per cent cuts that you have requested. It seems that further discussions need to be held with all of his employees before decimating the office required by state law to be available to ensure access to state records (Georgia Public Records and Open Records Act 50-18-70). Our records “shall be open for a personal inspection by any citizen of this state at a reasonable time and place, and those in charge of such records shall not refuse this privilege to any citizen.” Further reductions in the Archives’ staff and elimination of open hours do not fulfill this mandate.
My own career as an archivist began with an internship at the Georgia Archives when it was still located in downtown Atlanta. The staff there was excited about preserving and sharing Georgia history. Their enthusiasm encouraged me to pursue my interests in historic documents and research, and I worked as a state employee at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and at Georgia State University doing just that. I am now employed as the Head of Special Collections at your alma mater, and I still love sharing history with Mercerians. I am sure you remember the excitement of conducting research from your own college days and hope you will find a way to enable other Georgians to connect with their history and records.
Laura M. Botts, C.A.