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Speak out for records access

May The Legal Genealogist have an hour of your time?

Today. Tomorrow. This weekend. This coming week.

At some point when it’s convenient, but within the next few days, take just an hour of your time.

call to actionAnd speak out on behalf of one of our most important research repositories — the Library of Virginia, Virginia’s state library and archives.

I’ve already written about the terrible blow that LVA has suffered in the current round of budget cuts hitting the Old Dominion.

Those cuts have forced the Library to close its doors to the public on Saturdays and on Mondays, so that — in effect — anybody who works a regular 9-to-5 weekday job can’t use LVA at all without taking time off.1

Those budget cuts have already taken effect. The shutdowns began on November 14th. Six archivist jobs and six part-time staff jobs gone — taking with those people all of their collective knowledge and wisdom about the records.

And worse could be to come: the Governor has already said the budget has to be cut another 2.5% in the future. And there simply isn’t anything left at LVA to cut.

Unless … unless… unless…

Unless we speak out.

Unless we can convince the Virginia General Assembly to take the Library off the budgetary chopping block.

Unless we can show the legislators the value of putting money back into the LVA budget.

It’s up to us. All of us who value records access. Whether we live in Virginia or not.

We have to speak out now.

There are specific suggestions on the Virginia Genealogical Society website,2 but let me repeat them:

First: Do it today!!

Download and read the “Open Letter to Members”[click here for PDF] and contact the members of the Senate Finance and House Appropriations committees. Contact information is included in the “Letter.”

Second:

It will take legislative action to restore the funds necessary to reopen the Library on Saturday. Contact your personal legislators in person, by phone, email, and letter (http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/). Let them know your concern. Ask them to support the restoration of the funding for the lost archival positions so that the library can reopen on Saturday and continue to process the collections that it receives.

Third:

Ask your legislators to support the code changes outlined in the letter to members. We need to ensure that the Library’s mission of providing access to our history to all citizens is part of the Code of Virginia.

Don’t Live in Virginia?

Write the governor; write the members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Appropriations committee. Remind them that you have voting relatives in Virginia, that your tourist dollars support the Virginia tourism industry and that they have a responsibility to see that Virginia’s history is preserved and available to all. We need your voices too.

It’ll only take an hour of your time.

We cannot sit idly by and let this jewel of a research facility wither away, hour by hour, day by day.

Speak up.


SOURCES

  1. See Judy G. Russell, “Dark days in Richmond,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 2 Nov 2016 (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 1 Dec 2016).
  2. See “Please Help a Treasure House in Trouble: The Library of Virginia,” Virginia Genealogical Society (http://vgs.org/ : accessed 1 Dec 2016).
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