Posted in Interesting News & Commentary

Should the Georgia State Archives be Closed to the Public on November 1st?


On November 1st Georgia will become the first state in the nation that does not provide public access to its Archive.  According to the press release, “the public will only be allowed to access the building by appointment; however, the number of appointments could be limited based on the schedule of the remaining employees.”   Secretary of State Brian Kemp also indicated that “the building will be mothballed…It will have just enough employees there to take care of the critical documents.”  If you feel the Georgia State Archive should remain open to the public consider signing this petition.

The Georgia Archives plays a critical role in the work of historians researching slave trade, civil rights, race relations in the south, and women in politics.  In addition, the Georgia Archives enables individuals to research their family history and protect their property rights by providing documentation on land boundaries and historic tax records.  Finally, the Georgia Archives organizes and preserves documents that help citizens and legislators understand historic issues that related to current political issues such as water rights, marriage laws, and the legislative intent of laws passed in Georgia.

To learn more about this decision from the perspective of the Governor’s Office of Budget and Planning and the Office of the Secretary of State, take a look at WSAV’s post titled Georgia Closes State Archives published September 13, 2012.  NPR also ran a story by Jonathan Shapiro titled Georgia to Cut Off Public Access to State Archives that includes additional information about the future of this agency.

If the Georgia State Archives (or any State Archive) have been beneficial to your research, share your experience on the Georgian’s Against Closing the State Archives Facebook page.

3 thoughts on “Should the Georgia State Archives be Closed to the Public on November 1st?

  1. Thank you for this thoughtful post concerning the dire situation of the Georgia Archives. It is important to understand that by not keeping the Georgia Archives open to the public, that the government is opposing the Open Records Act, which states that the public must be permitted access to public records, and are therefore taking away a civil liberty from the People. Over the past years the Georgia Archives has taken cut after cut of its dedicated staff so that few people remain, certainly not enough staff remain to fulfill “appointments by requests” as Secretary of State Kemp would like to suggest, and it is certain that the priority of access will go to government officials, rather than to the public. Being open only two days a week since the last major cut where staff was enormously reduced, the state of Georgia ranked the very last in the nation for providing open hours to the public and by closing the Georgia Archives they will be doing something unheard of nationally as well as setting a dangerous precedent that may cause the privatization of the very archival institutions that protect the need for government transparency and open access to the records necessary for the public to understand government policy. Protect your rights by signing the petition, but also contact your legislators, the Secretary of State Brian Kemp, and Governor Deal.

    Who to write in Georgia about Archives closing:

    Governor Nathan Deal
    206 Washington Street
    Suite 203, State Capitol
    Atlanta, GA 30334
    Tel: 404-656-1776
    Fax:404-657-7332

    Secretary of State Brian Kemp
    Executive Offices:
    214 State Capitol
    Atlanta, GA 30334
    Tel: 404-656-2881
    Fax: 404-656-0513
    Email form at link:
    http://sos.georgia.gov/cgi-bin/email.asp

  2. Of the three employees who will remain after November 1, it has been reported already that one is a building and grounds/maintenance worker. Only two employees will be left to serve both state agencies and the citizens of Georgia. I hope these two have a lot of stamina and never get sick.

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