Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has announced that because of continued budget cuts that effective November 1, the Georgia State Archives located in Morrow, Georgia will be closed to the public. Kemp says state staff is being reduced and the only way that a member of the public can view the archives would be to make an appointment. Kemp also said the number of appointments could be limited based on the schedule of the remaining employees.Interestingly, I will be traveling to Georgia on 9 - 10 November, 2012 for more presentations at the Georgia Family History Expo at the Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, Georgia outside of Atlanta. Closing the state archives, in any state, is serious problem. As the news account quoting Dr.Todd Groce, the president and chief executive office of the Georgia Historical Society, explains:
Groce told me the idea of making state generated documents available to all citizens is not only part of the Georgia Open Records Law but something perhaps even more fundamental. "The accessibility helps us know what our leaders are doing and what they have done," he says. He says there are millions of documents preserved at the State Archives building, which would include records and correspondence from leaders to such things as land records.Contrast the attitude of the State of Georgia with that of Washington state where the state has digitized millions of documents and made them available online to the public. It is so common that both state and local governments, when faced with a budget "shortfall" will start to cut "non-essential" services like libraries, museums and archives rather than face the difficult decisions to cut bureaucratic state employees.
You can sign a petition to support keeping the Archives open by going to The Governor of Georgia: Leave our state archives open to the public.