The Community Archives Program in Austin Receives Diversity Award from Society of American Archivists

The Community Archives Program, established in 2000 by the City of Austin through the Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, is a 2018 recipient of the Diversity Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award will be presented at a ceremony during the Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists, National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators and SAA in Washington, DC, August 12–18. The award recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing diversity within the archives profession, SAA or the archival record.

The Community Archives Program engages communities in documenting the rich and diverse histories of African American, Latinx and Asian American residents and their contributions to the city. Over the course of eighteen years, community archivists have developed best practices for establishing ongoing, mutually beneficial relationships with community groups based on trust and commitment to shared priorities.

The success of their efforts is most evident in the variety of educational and outreach programs it supports as well as innovative and timely exhibits such as Mexican American Trailblazers, Finding Refuge in Austin, Travis County Negro Extension Service andWomen in Action. A growing recognition of the program’s influence has prompted the Austin City Council to incorporate the program’s invaluable historical perspective and leadership into its new strategic plan for city planning, which will continue to shape the future of the city and its communities.

One supporter who has worked closely with the program noted, “Diversity and inclusion isoften talked about within the archival profession, but the Community Archivists Program is one archives taking action.”

The Diversity Award was established in 2011. Maya from the Margins, a project developed by Dr. Patricia A. McAnany, Dr. Gabrielle Vail, and Douglas “Biff” Hollingsworth, is also a recipient of the award this year. Previous recipients include the Texas Disability History Collection at the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries, the Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies at the University of Minnesota Libraries and the SAA Latin American and Cultural Heritage Archives Roundtable webinar series “Desmantelando Fronteras/Breaking Down Borders.”

About the Austin History Center
As the local history collection of the Austin Public Library, the Austin History Center provides the public with information about the history, current events and activities of Austin and Travis County. The Center collects and preserves information about local governments, businesses, residents, institutions and neighborhoods so that generations to come will have access to their history. For more information please call 512-974-7480 or visit austinhistorycenter.org.

About the Austin Public Library
The Austin Public Library provides knowledge, technology and inspiration to the Austin community. The Library is a hub of books and education, a meeting place of minds and an incubator of ideas. For more information please call 512-974-7400 or visitlibrary.austintexas.gov.

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