How This All Came About
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.
Statement of Purpose
The National A.A. Archives Workshop is an open, service oriented Workshop hosted on an annual basis by a Host Committee chosen through an open bidding process. The Guidelines, Agendas, and overall direction of the Workshop are determined by the group conscience of the National A.A. Archives Workshop Advisory and Guidance Committees.
The individual workshops are conducted in an A.A. Forum format, with a specific focus on the open sharing of the experience, strength and hope of Archivists, attendees and members of the National A.A. Archives Workshop Membership Body. Each Workshop intends to renew and energize our efforts and foster enhanced communications between A.A. Archivists and Archives Committee members. We share information, methods, procedures, ethics, and our enthusiasm at each Workshop as we continue to gather, grow, and serve.
Consistent with A.A.’s primary purpose, A.A. Archivists and Archives Committee Members try to help the still suffering alcoholic by preserving the integrity of both the A.A. message and the history of the Fellowship for current and future members.
“We are trying to build up extensive records which will be of value to a future historian...”
“It is highly important that the factual material be placed in our files in such a way that there can be no substantial distortion...”
“We want to keep enlarging on this idea for the sake of the full length history to come...”
Bill W., 1957
Workshop Planning Guidelines
Based on prior National A.A. Archives Workshop experience, these Guidelines are meant to be suggestive only except where specific requirements are noted. In the spirit of Unity and Service, the Twelve Traditions, the Twelve Concepts, and the Guidelines of Alcoholics Anonymous also guide the Workshop.
The By-Laws spell out the structure of the NAAAW LLC, its procedures, the various service positions and their responsibilities, elections, and financial responsibility.