Prior to the birth of the National AA Archives Workshop, most Alcoholics Anonymous archivists had little or no information on how to fulfill their service commitment. Often boxes were passed down from the previous archivist to the newly appointed or elected Archivist. Sometimes these boxes had been in the trunks of cars or stashed in homes. The advice was to take classes or work with a conservator in a museum.
The National Alcoholics Anonymous Archives Workshop (“NAAAW”) began in 1996 with a Workshop held in Akron, Ohio at the Mayflower Hotel. The Workshop grew out of the desire of a group of Archivists to have a Workshop for the Archivists operating within the General Service, Intergroup, and Institutions structures. These Archivists are found all across North America as well as the rest of the world. We take our inspiration from the first General Service Archivist, Nell Wing (a non-alcoholic), and all of the subsequent General Service Office Archivists.
The founders of our workshop saw the need and took the initiative. Now we have our annual workshop dedicated to the instruction of archival techniques such as: restoration, preservation and de-acidification. There are hands-on workshops, historical presentations, long-timer panels and key-note speakers who share their experiences on not only our history, but history in general. We have training and sharing that offers a variety of insights into all areas of archives service. With the development of new technology there are new methods of record keeping, cataloging, and preserving. We are evolving.
The General Service Office’s Archives Workbook has been developed. It too is evolving. We not only have some basics but a useful tool. There is help for the archivist who is new and has great intentions but no direction.