Although the archives is still closed to the public, our staff have been hard at work completing behind-the-scenes work to achieve our institutional goals. With the closure of the reading room and cancellation of public events, we have been able to dedicate more time to processing records for public use.
Vital to processing is determining what material our repository will keep and what will be deaccessioned. Deccessioning is a routine procedure of removing materials from the holdings that occurs while appraising or reappraising archival records. There are many reasons why we might choose to deaccession materials. In some cases, materials may not be useful or relevant to our mandate. They may also be deaccesioned if they cannot be properly stored, preserved, or made accessible. Where possible, these concerns are generally addressed during the donation process, before the materials are accepted. However, there are always items that require further examination before a decision can be made, particularly when accepting large archival donations.
In recent months, we have identified a number of books and pamphlets within our unprocessed holdings that were originally intended for the SPRA reference library. On closer inspection, these books were not local to the South Peace and thus did not meet the mandate of our institution. After consulting with the donors of the books, we determined that the best method of deaccession would be by transfer to another archival institution. Our staff created an inventory and reached out to our fellow institutional members of the Archives Society of Alberta to find a home for the books. The response was overwhelmingly positive! We have now successfully relocated 26 books to new homes at archival institutions across Alberta. These were carefully (and colorfully) packaged by Archives Assistant Kaydence and mailed out last week. The books will now be able to serve their intended purpose in the communities that will benefit from them most.