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Equitable Archival Practice at Kennedy Library

Archival Future(s)

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are frequent topics of conversation in archival spaces. Archives hold vast knowledge and histories capable of transforming lives and we must carry this gravity with us into the work being done at Kennedy Library (Roe 2016: 12). As an institutional archive, Special Collections and Archives must do a better job of meeting the needs of all members of our community. There are inherent limitations in an institutional archive, because of the inherently exclusive nature of academia. Community archives have recently come to represent the shortcomings of an institutional archive like SC&A, because of their ability to work more closely with the communities they are archiving. The term community archives are discussed and defined by scholars Andrew Flinn, Mary Stevens, and Elizabeth Shepherd (2009) as “collections of material gathered primarily by members of a given community and over whose use community members exercise some level of control” (p. 73). In an attempt to regain power over their collective histories, communities look to the creation of community archives to maintain and preserve their own materials and identities. Much can be learned from the practices of more community-based archives as we look to transform our practice.