Role of the Archives Committee

( Reprinted from the Archives Workbook, Page 11, with permission of A.A. World Services Inc. Available HERE!)
It is a decades-old axiom in our Fellowship that “you can’t keep it unless you give it away.” When we first enter A.A., we learn the soundness of this statement as we stay sober and find our own sobriety strengthened as we try to “pass it on” to a newcomer. Many A.A.s active at the general service or intergroup/central office level, who carry the A.A. message through corrections or public information work, or volunteer for telephone answering service, experience a similar awakening by “giving it away.”

A.A. archivists and committee members, too, describe a heightened and enriched sobriety by participating in their type of Twelfth Step work. Archives provide an opportunity for A.A. members to actively share in our history.

Local needs and practices will guide you regarding whether you work primarily through the area and district or through the local central office or intergroup. The archives committee is responsible for establishing policies, budgets, and procedures. It undertakes and maintains final responsibility and authority for the use of the archives and exercises its group conscience in regard to matters of general policy.

In all of its actions, the archives committee needs to be mindful of and guided by A.A.’s primary purpose. Thus, if non-A.A. friends are asked to serve on the committee, which is possible because of interest, special knowledge and/or expertise, they ought to be people who are thoroughly familiar with our primary purpose, as well as all of our A.A. Traditions.

One of the most important functions of the archives committee is to establish creative parameters for the selection of material to be collected. These parameters will guide the archivist in gathering material of historical significance and will reduce the time and space of preserving random bits and pieces of dubious value.

It is helpful for the committee to meet on a regular basis to aid the archivist and to become familiar with the maintenance of the collection. Rotation is handled in different ways, with some committees rotating at the same time as area officers while other committees have a staggered rotation so that there is continuity of members with background. If the archivist does not rotate every two years, it seems to work best to have some of the committee members rotate.


The Archives eNewsletter, Markings features stories about the history of A.A. and articles relating to the Archives profession for A.A. local Archivists involved in gathering and preserving the Fellowship’s history.

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