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We're hoping we have another great year like we did in 2021!

2021: Our Year – Some Great Leaps & Some Stumbles

by Bob Gerometta, Chief Archivist -
reprint with permission only

When you run a not for profit, you face some challenges that a regular business may not have to overcome. The greatest challenge is getting your constituents to recognize that it takes hard dollars to deliver the product.

We can talk all day about our product being the materials we save and make available, but for many reasons, there is no relationship with our customers - YOU - and the need to find dollars and cents to bring that product to you.

This challenge - finding sufficient donations to sustain us - is our greatest trial. In 2021, that challenge was met. Two benefactors each delivered a significant financial contribution to our cause. Because of their efforts, for 2022 we will be able to meet a goal that has been eluding us since 2014 - a new website!

The second challenge is acquiring human resources.  Regardless of what you may think about that fact that we handle digital images rather than paper, there is a human capital cost to move the materials from paper to the product on our website’s library.

In 2021, we developed the Student Scanning Project - where students at educational institutions scan and clean paper documents and deliver digital files that are loaded on our website. It’s a great idea, but the challenges are manifold - find a willing institution, get the cooperation of faculty, develop a curriculum, come up with a reward system, train/monitor the students, and evaluate the results.

Even though the students and faculty may cooperate WE need an individual to manage this effort. And if we want to encourage participation, we may need more than ONE individual to see to it the results are solid. We have graded the effort a C+ for 2021. We accomplished all the goals except the active monitoring, the result being a lower level of materials cleaned and loaded than we would have liked.

The last test is the acquisition of significant materials that we will add to our collections. Automotive magazines, which are an excellent window into the times and the sentiments of the community of auto enthusiasts are always offered, in some cases to the point of overwhelming us. Period print advertising and auto brochures fall a lonely 5th or 6th in our amount of acquisitions - especially if we are looking for rare pieces.

Of course, the issue with paper acquisitions is then the people power to convert them into digital. Merely receiving materials does not result in those materials appearing in the library! Our acquisitions of rare material was bolstered by the significant financial donations we mentioned above, but the net result, is still and always be talent to restore and convert the materials.

This year we had a huge and significant donation. Mike Eaton of Detroit Eaton Spring donated 79 gigabytes - yes 70 gigabytes - of already scanned material. While some of the materials still needs to be cleaned and loaded, the fact that the physical act of scanning has been done allows us to more quickly move the material to our library!
What’s in store for 2022? Simple. Find more dollars and cents (you can help here with even a small amount). Determine how we can better manage the Student Scanning Project. And finish building our website.

We’re confident we can get it done in the coming year, but it wouldn't hurt to have your help. Why not contact us and ask what you could do and how that will help us. Just click librarian@ahpsoc.org and get the ball rolling – that will give us a happy new year.