With the abrupt announcement in late January 2020 that the National Archives at Seattle–placed on 10 acres in the Sand Point neighborhood since 1963–would be "eventually" closed and the records moved to facilities in Riverside, California and Kansas City, Missouri, the surprised dismay from state archivists, researchers, and Native American tribal leaders and Alaska Natives who see their ancestors and heritage directly depicted in the records was quick and loud. The facility holds one million cubic feet of federal records which are accessed by over 700 people visiting its research rooms, and which grow by about 1300 cubic feet annually. In this examination of the National Archives at Seattle's collections use–integrating staff perspectives with data from recent reports, budgets, and the accounting framework that informed the decision–we contribute an analysis of the digitization work proposed to replace in-person viewership, and an Indigenous and land-development view on the archival value assessments within the decision.
Megan Llewellyn is an MLIS graduate student at the University of Missouri's School of Information Science and Learning Technologies. She holds an undergraduate degree from Washington State University and works at the Seattle Public Library as a shelver. She is hoping to build a career as an instructional design librarian at academic libraries. Sarah Buchanan is an Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri's School of Information Science and Learning Technologies. She serves as the emphasis leader for Archival Studies and conducts research on the access, arrangement, and description of cultural heritage collections in museums and archives.
Llewellyn, Megan E. and Buchanan, Sarah A.
"Will the Last Archivist in Seattle Please Turn Out the Lights: Value and the National Archives,"
Journal of Western Archives: Vol. 11:
1, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/westernarchives/vol11/iss1/7