Archives Are: A Poem

Archives Are: A Poem

Celebrating Archives Month

A place where you can find unexpected things
unexpected treasures
unexpected grocery lists

A pleasant void
where stories' roots are tended

A place of mysteries and discoveries

We discover what we'll never know
what we've never learned

We connect to the past and leaf through history

In a place
where anyone and everyone
should feel welcome
to learn something new

In a place
where you can talk to dead people and sometimes they talk back.


Archives are not static.


Archives are collections of things
but they are only possible because of people
they are not dusty and chaotic like in the movies
because archivists take great care of these spaces.

Archives are awesome.
… and nerdy.

Archives are not where you should go to eat your lunch
but you can read about what someone had for lunch
200 years ago

Speaking of which
you can find totally boring things
that are totally interesting to the right person
after all
archives are
potential treasure troves
depending heavily on one's definition of treasure


I sometimes spook myself coming around the corner of the shelves.


Archives Month banner

"October is American Archives Month” logo from the Society of American Archivists. Credit: Eve Neiger, archivist at Yale University


This poem was created in celebration of American Archives Month. Every October, Archives Month is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of archival collections and the people who work with and use them. In case you want a more concrete answer to the question, "What's an Archives?" check out the National Archives page on the subject.

The poem is comprised of anonymous submissions by AIP staff and our social media followers to the prompt "Archives are..." and it was edited by Corinne Mona. 

Happy Archives Month!


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Submitted byJulie Aldenon Thu, 10/27/2022 - 14:04

Going through 600 books or so following a family death, what has fascinated me is the archive of various bookmarks - from shops closed long ago, in book gifts from friends, receipts, streetcar transfers, trip souvenirs and personal notes.

Submitted bycmonaon Thu, 10/27/2022 - 17:07

In reply to by Julie Alden

I love finding bookmarks in the books we receive in donations and I hold on to the best ones! Thanks very much for your comment.

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