CoSA from the Inside Out

Mar 22, 2017

By Barbara Teague

CoSA Program Consultant

As my first blog post for CoSA, I thought I would give our members and readers a glimpse of the behind the scenes activities that keep CoSA running. For those of you who don't know me, I spent 32 years at the Kentucky State Archives, in many different positions, including State Archivist, from 2008-2015.  After I retired from Kentucky, I worked for one year as the Government Records Director at the Library of Virginia.  CoSA hired me as a contractor last October, to finalize the IMLS grant for SERI training; to write an analysis of the first six years of SERI, The State of State Electronic Records report (forthcoming in May/June!!); and then to also work as CoSA’s Program Consultant starting in January.   
After being involved with CoSA (and CoSA's predecessor group, COSHRC, for seemingly most of my life), being on the CoSA Board, serving as CoSA President, and working on several CoSA committees, I thought that I probably knew everything about CoSA. Well, in my six months working with CoSA, I have learned a great deal about the inner workings of CoSA and discovered that the amount of work CoSA’s one staff person and two contractors produce is pretty amazing! Those of you working in state archives should be extraordinarily grateful for the value from our CoSA dues, and the hard work that occurs daily in the CoSA office in Albany, and in the contractor offices in Iowa City, IA, and now, in Frankfort, KY, affectionally dubbed (well, by me anyway) as CoSA South.  
When I started working on CoSA’s program activities in January, Anne shared a schedule of CoSA’s monthly committee meetings.  Wow!   With seven committees/task forces/groups meeting at least once per month, CoSA is humming with activity! (See our website for information on each group:
Our Executive Director, Anne Ackerson, is quite the multi-tasker, as she oversees the handiwork from all these groups and helps weave it together seamlessly.  In addition to her excellent planning and organizational contribution, Anne attends all these committee meetings, as well as a monthly CoSA Board meeting and a weekly Executive Committee meeting with the President, Vice-President, and Treasurer. Anne keeps CoSA focused by tracking and calendaring detailed workplans and outcomes for the Board and all other committees, as well as coordinating with our colleagues at NASCIO, NASS, NGA, and other organizations; fielding requests from the press and public; managing our finances and other administrative work; and juggling all CoSA activities.
Becky Julson, CoSA’s IT Coordinator, manages all the technical aspects of the webinars, works with CoSA's website contractor, and takes care of most of the updates to the CoSA website.  Becky's most recent feat was working with Anne to increase the number of licenses on our WebEx platform, since the demand for CoSA/Preservica webinars exceeded our license capacity.  
And me, well, I’m learning the CoSA ropes and trying to help CoSA in any way I can.  (New things are good for your brain, right??)  Some of my work is with the State Electronic Records Initiative (SERI), attending all the SERI Steering Committee meetings and all three SERI subcommittee meetings, working on the State of State Electronic Records report, applying for grants, and planning for future SERI activities.  After the grant is over on March 31. I will still be working with the SERI Steering Committee to coordinate SERI activities, thanks to the CoSA Board devoting a small portion of your dues payment to continue SERI without current grant funds.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed for two preliminary grant proposals we submitted to IMLS on February 1, and hoping we are invited to submit a full grant proposal.  
Working as CoSA’s Program Consultant includes assisting the Education and Training Committee and the Awards Committee; managing communications, including the newsletter and social media. (Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook, if you don’t already; and coming soon…. Instagram); and helping Anne with special projects.  Currently, we are working on planning for two cooperative agreements with NHPRC, administering projects of concern to CoSA members. For one of those agreements, CoSA will host the State Boards Symposium at the annual meeting in Boise and administer the NHPRC funds supporting the meeting.  Another NHPRC agreement in the works includes assisting with a symposium for state governments, federal agencies, and others currently involved in email preservation.  
As a decades-long CoSA member who always appreciated the value of CoSA, the opportunity to work on projects of mutual interest to help move state and territorial archives forward, and the extremely collegial atmosphere of COSA, I already knew that CoSA was my “home” organization.  The amount of volunteer time that our members contribute to the organization is quite extraordinary, and is one of the reasons that CoSA can accomplish so much, even with its small size of 56 member states and territories.  Seeing CoSA from the other side as a contractor, I certainly am more appreciative of the work done by the staff and contractors.  I can truly assure all our members that CoSA is, as it always has been for me and it is even more so today, quite an extraordinary place to be.


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