The Community Archives Center Gathers Toolkit Feedback at the Washington Library Association Conference

In 2021, the Tacoma Public Library received a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services to vision, develop, and launch the Community Archives Center at Tacoma Public Library. In addition to building a new collection of community-created content that helps move Tacoma towards a more inclusive historical record, the project also aimed to create a generalizable model for other libraries who are interested in taking on similar projects in their own communities. The project team is currently working to create the Community Archives Center Toolkit which will serve as a guide for other public libraries. The Toolkit will walk readers through the specifics of this work at Tacoma Public Library but will also be adaptable to many contexts by providing examples from other institutions, key factors for libraries to consider when tackling such projects, and information on the theory and practice behind community archives. The final toolkit will be released in June 2023 in conjunction with the American Library Association Conference in Chicago. 

On March 31, the Community Archives Center project team presented at the Washington Library Association conference in Wenatchee. The purpose of this presentation was to share the work of the Community Archives Center with other librarians across the state and to gather feedback from the library community about the initial form and content of the Toolkit. The session began with presentations by UW Senior Research Scientist Chris Jowaisas, who introduced the Toolkit, and UW Professor of Information Science Marika Cifor, PhD, who provided attendees with an introduction to community archives. Anna Trammell, Manager of Archives and Special Collections at TPL, gave an overview of the Community Archives Center project and dindria barrow, Community Archives Center Associate at TPL, discussed community partnerships and programs. 

Attendees were then organized into a series of six breakout discussion groups where they discussed and provided feedback on key sections of the Toolkit. Their feedback will play a valuable role in shaping the final version of the Toolkit. Sessions were led by Jowaisas, Cifor, Trammell, and barrow in addition to UW Senior Research Scientist Jason Young and UW Information Science Doctoral Student Sarah Nguyễn. 

Stay tuned for more information about the Community Archives Center Toolkit coming in summer 2023!