CoSA Honors 2022 Awards Recipients

By Anne Ackerson posted 09-20-2022 03:17 PM


The Council of State Archivists Awards Program acknowledges institutions, individuals, and programs that have enriched and strengthened our nation's state and territorial archives. It rewards innovative efforts and provides encouragement for the development of new and remarkable projects. By recognizing exemplary achievements, the Council of State Archivists hopes to inspire others to make similar contributions.

The RISING STARS AWARDS acknowledge outstanding contributions by individual staff members or teams to their state archives and constituencies.

Rising Star: Clare Horton, Deputy State Archivist, Indiana State Archives

  • Implemented several crowd-sourced transcription projects using From the Page. Her work towards developing a virtual volunteer program led the Indiana Office of Technology in 2018 to recognize the initiative as the "Best Application Serving the Public."
  • In response to legal restrictions, oversaw the creation of an administrative rule to establish a privacy committee that can evaluate research requests for mental health records.
  • Directed the work that culminated in the launch of the Research Indiana Indexes in 2021.
  • With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, developed and implemented a project to transcribe WPA-era name indexes for the agency's clerical staff who could not perform their normal job duties during the Governor's "stay at home" order. She also proactively returned archival staff to the office as soon as it was safe to do so.
  • Her experience in planning for a new Indiana State Archives building in 2016 has been instrumental as funding for the project materialized in 2021. She has taken a lead role in communicating with the building architects during the schematic design process and advocating for the needs of the staff and the archival collections in the new facility.

Rising Star: Rebecca Halbmaier, Local Records Regional Administrator, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives

  • Works with the local government agencies for 29 counties, assisting with records management and preservation goals. Created new guidance documents specific to local government agencies.
  • Co-chairs the Kentucky State Archives’ Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) Committee, and drafted the IDEA Committee’s Strategic Plan.
  • Led KDLA’s disaster response after December 2021 tornado damage in Western Kentucky.
  • “While the loss of life and property is not minimized, our and her secondary focus was and is public records preservation. Rebecca was in Mayfield, KY, ground zero, the next morning. Rebecca provided assistance for two weeks, including weekends. She assessed the damage, assisted local offices with records removal, delivered boxes, milk crates, and dehumidifiers. She initially facilitated contact with preservation specialists, ServPro, and Prism Specialties for the affected western counties. Rebecca often found officials that had no way to contact KDLA for assistance on the street. Tracking offices was as easy as seeing if their building still stood. The hard part was locating and contacting officials that were without phone service or electricity or internet. All of this data, she tracked and reported. Rebecca continues to receive first contact from the tornado and severe weather affected local offices today.” (nomination recommendation)

SHRAB AWARD OF MERIT: The CoSA-NHPRC SHRAB Award of Merit is given to a State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) project or program that resulted in strengthening the condition or access of documents and records within its state.

New York SHRAB

  • Taken a strong and well-developed approach to advocating for New York's historical records repositories to take steps to achieve greater agency, equity, and social justice in New York's historical record, demonstrating both the value and power of a SHRAB in facilitating important conversations and laying the groundwork for change among repositories that collect and preserve the documentary record.
  • Published a set of principles on the NYSHRAB web site that formed the basis of training and outreach by the State Archives through its training and education programs to support repositories across the state.
  • Developed and published a statement called Every Voice | Every Story to provide guidance to support the work of correcting archival silences and populating archival collections equitably in New York State. Through this guidance, NYSHRAB asks the historical records community in New York to incorporate the elements of five principles of archival activity, education, access, representation, agency, and partnerships. The resource provided by the NYSHRAB will form a baseline for repositories to begin to address their collections, their policies, their staffing practices, and their programmatic activities to support greater equity and inclusion.

VICTORIA IRONS WALCH LEADERSHIP AWARD: The Victoria Irons Walch Leadership Award recognizes the sustained leadership and outstanding contributions of an individual or institution to the development of state and territorial archives. Criteria include:

  • creatively and effectively meeting challenges and opportunities
  • demonstrating collaborative and innovative approaches
  • serving their constituency in an exemplary way
  • exceeding normal expectations and providing a model for others
Barbara Teague, former CoSA Executive Director

Barbara is a leader who leads as effectively from the back of the room as from the front. She diplomatically encourages others to fulfill their responsibilities, and she willingly shares the organization’s accomplishments with her colleagues. She also provides a safety net when needed, as she lifts up the work of board members, staff, and volunteers. These attributes and skills are hallmarks of Barbara’s leadership.

During her tenure as CoSA’s Executive Director, Barbara ably steered the expansion of the executive director into a full-time position; successfully oversaw the first dues increase in a decade; drove staff pursuit and fulfillment of two major IMLS-funded SERI projects and funding from the University of Illinois/Mellon Foundation; led efforts to redevelop CoSA’s website; and provided guidance and focus to a number of advocacy initiatives, including collaboration with EveryLibrary and participation in the National Humanities Alliance’s Advocacy Day. She has tirelessly widened and deepened relationships with CoSA’s allied organizations and corporate sponsors.

During the more recent period of upheaval and challenges, she has been a stabilizing force CoSA leadership, helping the Executive Committee to manage board issues and agendas, take on the challenges related to the pandemic, and develop effective strategies to adapt to an entirely virtual environment. Regardless of turmoil, she has helped CoSA maintain its cohesiveness by ensuring that the state and territorial archives receive and benefit from CoSA’s suite of programs and services. Barbara helped to ensure that members of CoSA, are in frequent contact with each other, and best equipped to continue our collective mission of preserving the public record and making it available to those whom we serve.

ADVOCACY FOR ARCHIVES AWARD: The Advocacy for Archives Award acknowledges an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to efforts by state and local government archives to ensure the preservation and availability of the American historical record.

Representative Don Young (R-Alaska), posthumous award

  • Dedicated supporter of NARA and NHPRC for decades.
  • Republican lead on first NARA/NHPRC “Dear Colleague” budget letter.

CoSA extends a special thanks to the 2022 Awards Program Committee:

  • Tom Ruller, New York, Committee ChairSara Davis, Wyoming
  • Heather Hultman, Montana
  • Shawn Rounds, Minnesota
  • Eric Emerson, South Carolina, Ex-officio
  • Jami Awalt, Tennessee, Ex-officio
  • Barbara Teague, Executive Director, Ex-officio
It’s not too early to begin planning for next year! Read about CoSA's Awards Program and nominate yourself or a colleague for recognition!