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Professional group decries Target layoff of archivists

Posted by: Janet Moore Updated: October 15, 2013 - 5:04 PM

When Target announced last week that 150 people would be let go from various Twin Cities operations, two of them apparently worked in the Minneapolis-based retailer's archive department.

That prompted a letter from the Society of American Archivists, a Chicago-based professional group, decrying the move.

"Without Target's corporate archives and the hardworking professionals who staff it and make it accessible, documenting and preserving Target's historical and ongoing evolution will become extremely difficult, if not possible," the Oct. 11 letter to CEO Gregg Steinhafel states.

The letter is signed by Jeremy Brett and Sarah Quigley, chair and vice chair, respectively, of the group's Issues & Advocacy Roundtable. (Seven other members of the group's steering committee signed the missive, as well.)

The letter notes that Target traces its roots to the 1902 founding of Dayton Dry Goods. "Prominent and farsighted corporations understand that their archives document the historical development and progress of their organization and products," the letter states.

Often, when corporate archives are shuttered, "in most cases the duties and tasks are distributed to staff that neither have the skills or training to meet the unique needs of archival records" Crucial documents are "mislaid, lost or accidentially destroyed, leaving Target vulnerable both legally and financially," the letter states.

The letter urges Target to reconsider its recent decision.

Target spokeswoman Amy Reilly said the company has received the letter, and will respond directly to the organization when it does. "We remain committed to maintaining and growing our corporate archives and have integrated the work into another team," she said in a statement.

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