• Barbara O'Neill, chair; Washington County Cooperative Library Services
  • Colleen Bell, University of Oregon Libraries
  • Elizabeth Nielsen, Oregon State University Archives
  • Fred Reenstjerna, Douglas County Library System
  • Alex Toth, Pacific University


In July of 2002, Janet Webster, President of OLA, appointed a Task Force on OLA Archives. The charge to the Task Force was to:

1. Investigate the current state of the OLA Archives

2. Make recommendations to the OLA Executive Board on

a. Collection of records and publications

b. Organization of records and publications

c. Preservation of records and publications

The Task Force met in person two times and by telephone conference call once. The chair submitted the final report and recommendations to the OLA Board on March 21, 2003.




Current Status of the Archives 

The archives of the Oregon Library Association currently consist of approximately 45 linear feet (15 shelves) of materials (papers, notebooks, audiotapes, and videotapes) shelved in cardboard boxes. The materials are arranged in chronological order and begin with the first year of the association, 1940. Some of the boxes are labeled; others are not.

The collection is housed in the basement of the Oregon State Library in a room under the front steps of the building that is not climate-controlled. The collection shares a room with materials owned by Oregon State Library.

Access to the Association's archives is through contact with the Oregon State Library staff person designated by the State Librarian. The current contact person is OLA member Merrialyce Blanchard, who at one time organized the collection and reminded Association members to deposit their papers, but whose responsibilities now are limited to being the custodian of the collection. Merrialyce does not work with the archives on her work time, but whenever someone requests access to them, Merrialyce volunteers her personal time to assist.


Recommendations to the OLA Executive Board 

1. The task force recommends that the permanent archives of the Oregon Library Association be donated to an archival repository in Oregon that makes its records accessible to the public.

Justification: The permanent records of the Oregon Library Association are the heart of the organization's memory. They provide a unique account of the accomplishments of the organization and they help tell the story of librarianship within Oregon. An archival repository can professionally care for and preserve these documents in an environmentally secure storage area, can monitor their handling and use, and can provide research access to the information in the records. The archival repository would have complete control over how the materials are organized and preserved. It could not invest materials and labor in the preservation of items if it does not own them.

2. The task force recommends that the Association deposit its records in the permanent archives according to the proposed retention schedule.

Justification: Many records of the organization are of use in the conduct of the routine operations of the association. Records deposited in the permanent archives should be only those records that are inactive. The Records Retention Schedule ensures members retain easy access to active records and that non-permanent records are destroyed in a timely manner.

3. The task force recommends that an Archives Implementation Team be appointed to develop an implementation plan for choosing an archival repository, for transferring the archives to the chosen permanent repository, and for developing procedures that spell out the responsibilities of Executive Board officers and other Association members for keeping and transferring records. The task force further recommends the OLA Executive Board develop a budget for the initial costs of transferring permanent records.

Justification: Many details would need to be worked out to carry out the recommendations of this task force. A few examples of those details are:

  • Deciding how to choose an archival repository and then doing so
  • Negotiating a legal agreement between the archival repository and the Association that spells out the conditions of the relationship to the mutual agreement of all involved
  • Gathering the permanent records of the Association that are not housed in the Oregon State Library
  • Physically transferring the materials
  • Examining the Association's Web site for materials that are permanent, and developing a procedure for long-term preservation of electronic records of permanent/historical value

4. The task force recommends that the Executive Board annually appoint a person who has a thorough knowledge of the Association to serve as the Association's archivist. This person would serve as a single liaison between the archival repository and the Association and would coordinate all archival activity for the Association, including an annual transfer of records.
Justification: A single point-person with a thorough knowledge of the Association would provide consistency in gathering and transferring the permanent records.