Budget cuts hit Al. Dept. of Archives

MONTGOMERY, AL - The Alabama Department of Archives and History will no longer offer Saturday services as part of the state's massive budget cuts. The department is also reducing a variety of other services.

By March, the agency will have eleven fewer employees than it had a year ago, a 20 percent reduction in its staff. Five positions are being eliminated through attrition, and another six employees will be laid off effective January 31.

Because four of the eliminated positions regularly worked on weekends, the Archives will discontinue Saturday hours effective February 1.

"For Alabamians who work during the week, Saturdays are often the best time to visit the museum galleries with their families or to do family history research," director Ed Bridges said.  "We regret the elimination of our Saturday hours and hope to restore them when the state's budget is in better condition."

Before resorting to the reduction in force, the Archives eliminated spending on new books and microfilmed newpapers.  It also suspended a multi-year project to catalog the agency's rare-book collection and discontinued the use of student workers from area colleges.  The development of a management plan for the building's sophisticated environmental systems was indefinitely postponed.

Some previously scheduled events for 2009 will be rescheduled or cancelled.  Visit the Department's web site at www.archives.alabama.gov or call 334-242-4435 for information on upcoming events.

The public forum on "Current Research in Alabama Archaeology," sponsored by the Alabama Historical Commission, will take place in the Archives building at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 7, as scheduled.  The research room and museum galleries will not open, however.

New hours for the Department's museum galleries will be Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The research room will be open Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Founded in 1901, the Alabama Department of Archives and History is the oldest state-sponsored archival agency in the nation.  Its mission is to tell the story of the people of Alabama by preserving records and artifacts of historical value and promoting a better understanding of Alabama history.