Thursday, October 07, 2010

Greetings from Maryland

The morning began with David Gracy's keynote address. Before joining the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, he served as the 14th Texas State Archivist. While in this position, he began a project that has evolved into a book titled, The State Library and Archives of Texas: A History, 1835-1962.

During his address, Gracy spoke about how the idea of funding libraries has always been popular with politicians until the actual budget request is made. He cites specific instances of this throughout Texas history beginning with the group that gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos to found the Republic of Texas in 1836. The men loved the thought of ordering books on law and government to aid them in writing a constitution and actually created a committee to explore the idea further. The committee regarded this purchase as essential for the survival of Texas, but in the end declined to actually buy the materials because it just wasn't the right time.

Gracy closed his speech by pointing to the lack of research being performed on library history, especially on state libraries and archives. He argued that this is fertile ground for exploration and research on the institutions themselves is as valuable as what they contain.

Off to another round of sessions and then a trip to Annapolis.

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