Funding for North Battleford archives position to come up at budget

The issue of reinstating funds for an archivist with the North Battleford City Historic Archives will go to budget deliberations later this year.

City council voted Monday to direct administration to include in the budget for discussion the operation of the City of North Battleford Historic Archives. That motion passed unanimously.

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That decision came following a presentation by Bill Wells, chair of the archives committee, to council. Several volunteers from the committee were also in attendance to call for the reinstatement of the salaried archivist position that had been eliminated following the retirement of Tammy Donahue Buziak last October. Archives currently has no paid staff, and is being run by a group of eight volunteers. 

Wells pointed to the need to maintain the strong trust and reputation City Archives enjoyed with researchers and the community as a whole.

“We believe as many others do that this will not be possible without the leadership of a salaried employee who can provide the guidance, the expertise and the supervision necessary.”

Lack of a staff archivist could also put in jeopardy grants from the Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists.

“Without a paid archivist we may not be eligible for those grants,“ Wells said.

Donahue Buziak was at the meeting and she pointed out the archives received a maximum $5,000 grant from the Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists. She emphasized it is a competitive process with a huge pool of applicants.

“If we don’t have somebody who’s employed we will not receive those grants,” Donahue Buziak said.

Several letters of support were also received, including one from Gordon Brewerton on behalf of the Battlefords Regional News-Optimist. His letter noted that in 2017 hundreds of back issues of the News-Optimist and its predecessor papers dated 1905-1985 were donated to the archives for preservation and for access to researchers. 

In general, councillors voiced support for the work of the City Historic Archives. The next step will be for the archives discussion to come back to council during budget deliberations.


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