In the wake of the recent Senate confirmation of Dr. Colleen J. Shogan to be the 11th Archivist of the United States, CoSA President and Utah State Archivist Ken Williams was asked to share his thoughts about the lengthy and, at times, contentious process. “As the current CoSA President I'm thrilled that Dr. Shogan has been confirmed as the next AOTUS,” he exclaimed.
“Members of our Council have enjoyed several opportunities to meet Dr. Shogan during the lengthy confirmation process where we expressed our support for her appointment, shared ideas and possibilities for future collaboration, and to better understand the challenges we face as Archivists,” Williams continued. “This is an exciting and challenging time to be an Archivist and we look forward to working with the NARA team and Dr. Shogan.”
Dr. Shogan begins her NARA tenure this week, succeeding David S. Ferriero, who retired in April 2022, and Debra Steidel Wall, who has been acting archivist for the past 12 months.
At the time of Dr. Shogan’s nomination last summer, CoSA published a statement of support, noting the importance of the relationship between the National Archives and the state and territorial archives: “Only through such authentic agency partnership can we ensure that the records essential to our republic and its constituent parts are adequately managed, preserved, and accessible.”
In September 2022, CoSA submitted questions and a letter of support to the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs for its consideration during Dr. Shogan’s upcoming confirmation hearing. “The confirmation of Dr. Colleen Shogan as the next Archivist of the United States comes as welcomed news to the Council of State Archivists,” Catherine Newsome, Louisiana State Archivist and member of CoSA’s Advocacy Committee, said. “Dr. Shogan has demonstrated in her distinguished career a great appreciation for the role of government archives, and she has committed to supporting initiatives in her new role as AOTUS for the continuing promotion of records' access including through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant funding projects.”
The 56 state and territorial archival members of CoSA have a long history of a strong working relationship with NARA, especially through the NHPRC and support of State Historical Records Advisory Boards (SHRABs). “Our community is looking forward to working with Dr. Shogan as we look ahead to a new era at NARA,” says CoSA Executive Director Joy Banks. “Government archives play such a crucial role in documenting the actions of government and, thus preserving history and securing rights. We are eager to work alongside our Federal colleagues to seek efficient solutions to this work and provide records access to the American people.” Looking ahead, Banks noted CoSA’s desire to strengthen our collaborative relationships with NARA and support NHPRC’s funding for archival initiatives and SHRAB programming, as well as re-vision the role of the SHRABs for the future.
CoSA congratulates Dr. Colleen Shogan on her appointment and we look forward to working directly with NARA as Dr. Shogan's state and territorial counterparts to the vital mission of records' access and preservation.