I normally won't write a topical post (current events) because that's not what I intended this blog to be about. But I had to make an exception in this case. In case you haven't read elsewhere, funding for the Georgia Archives (which includes the Virtual Vault) is scheduled for serious reductions, below the level that the Archive needs to function as a viable public resource. The letter below has been sent out to many people across the state and the country, and I quote it as is:
Georgia Archives threatened by House Budget
URGENT ACTION REQUIRED!
An open letter from FOGAH Chair, Virginia Shadron:
The Fiscal Year 2012 budget that passed the Georgia House of Representatives on March 11 as HB 78 includes budget reductions that could result in the State Archives closing its doors to the public.
The budget contains two items that together would reduce the Archives’ budget by at least $300,000.
The Archives’ base budget, after preceding budget cuts, is $4,643,588. Over 65% of that goes to pay fixed costs (such as rent) that cannot be reduced. The current bill proposes an additional cut in “personal services and … savings from reduced hours …” in the amount of $260,458. The second way in which the Archives’ budget is eroded is that the House budget does not fund the annual increase in the Archives’ rent, an amount of more than $40,000 for FY12.
Altogether, the additional cuts to personal services and the failure to fund the rent increase means that the Archives’ sustains a critical $300,000 in cuts. You might wonder, “What is the fuss about?” That shortfall can come from one place only—and that is staff.
Without intervention the Archives will almost certainly be forced to close its doors to the public, reduce scanning operations and preservation activities, and eliminate most transfers of records from state agencies—the records that protect Georgia financially and legally.
The House version of the budget now goes to the Senate for adjustment and passage. Call and write your state senator immediately and ask that a minimum of $300,000 be restored to the Archives budget! Go to http://www.legis.ga.gov and click on "Find Your Legislator" to find your senator.
- Virginia Shadron
I don't know if letters from non-residents will do any good at this point. Heck, I don't know if letters from ANYONE will do any good at this point. But if you still live in Georgia, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE write to and call your Georgia State Senator an let them know that they need to restore the funding for this valuable historical and cultural resource. Not doing so is like forgoing regular maintenance on your car. You can't make up for it later. And we can't just buy a new history if we lose the one we have!