The Alaska delegation expressed disappointment today with the news that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) intends to close the Anchorage facility on June 20.
"I am incredibly disappointed by NARA's decision and still do not understand what their plan is or what the rush is," said Senator Lisa Murkowski. "They say they are closing the facility by September 30th, but shutting down the research room three months before that -- denying interested Alaskans time to visit the building and do research , and weigh in on these decisions. While I am glad NARA is donating the microfilm records to the state, they also need to let us know their plans for the Territorial Court Records and when they will digitize records not left in the state. I realize that finances dictate this closure, but NARA needs to balance that priority with allowing Alaskans continued access to these valuable pieces of our history."
"This is obviously upsetting news for Alaskans," said Senator Mark Begich. "Over the last several weeks, many Alaskans contacted my office to share their concerns and frustration over the planned closure of NARA's Anchorage facility. I share those frustrations and am very disappointed in this decision. While NARA agreed to donate the Alaska Railroad records, it still has not provided an answer about allowing the territorial court records to stay. I've also urged NARA to release a plan to prioritize the records for digitization before the facility officially closes."
"While I'm obviously disheartened to see the closure of the NARA facility in Anchorage, my focus remains with the adequate and timely access of the historical Alaskan documents it housed," said Congressman Don Young. "In March, I was able to pass legislation through the House Transportation Committee that would allow for the sale of excess National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) property, roughly 9 acres, to the Municipality of Anchorage. My hope is that as we move forward on this legislation, we can ensure that funds from this sale can be used for internal NARA purposes, rather than going directly to the Treasury, to provide adequate access to our Alaskan records and streamline the digitization process."