Papers Panel: The Value of Diverse Collections: Changing collections, institutions and researchers

Papers Panel: The Value of Diverse Collections: Changing collections, institutions and researchers

Sponsored by Iowa State University Library

Paper 1: Coming to the Plains: Latino/A Stories in Central Nebraska
Laurinda Weisse, University Archivist, University of Nebraska-Kearney

Like many archives, the University of Nebraska Kearney Archives has historically failed to fully document the diversity of both the campus and the surrounding communities. Recently, central Nebraska has seen a growth in immigration from Spanish-speaking countries, yet there are no archival collections that directly document this community, and very few that contain any materials related even peripherally to the local Latino/a population.

Paper 2: Modeling Change through LGBTQ+ Collecting
Dr. Francesca Marini, Associate Dean for Special Collections and Director, Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M University Libraries, and Professor Rebecca Hankins, Curator, Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M University Libraries

What role do rare book libraries, special collections and archives have in supporting LGBTQ+ communities? How did LGBTQ+ collections acquire a starring role at Texas A&M, changing the culture and perceptions of the campus? How can other RBM institutions replicate our example? The extensive LGBTQ+ collections housed at the Cushing Library have exponentially grown in the past few years, and the materials are among the most requested at the Library. Professors routinely incorporate these collections into their class assignments. The collections include the Don Kelly Research Collection of Gay Literature and Culture (one of the largest in the country), the Arden Eversmeyer Book Collection, the collection of Judge Phyllis R. Frye, the Texas A&M Gay Student Services Supreme Court Decision collection, and many others. A research fellowship, co-sponsored with the College of Liberal Arts, and fundraising efforts were successfully launched this year.

Paper 3: How Archivists can Support the Study of African American History: From Two Different Perspectives
Jessica Perkins Smith, Assistant Professor/Manuscript Archivist, Mississippi State University, and
Jasmaine Talley, Archivist, Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA

This joint paper will discuss ways in which collection development is formulated and modified to support research, as well as strategies for using the materials these archives already have to promote African American studies and encourage the use of archival materials in classrooms. Mississippi State archivist Jessica Perkins Smith will talk specifically about the university’s existing African American collections: both the collections that the department has highlighted for years and also “hidden” collections that are rich with possibilities for African American history, but have not been promoted or utilized by researchers. Amistad archivist Jasmaine Talley will talk specifically about Amistad’s newly processed African American Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) collections, which also represent a traditionally under-represented and under-explored aspect of black history. Both archivists will discuss their institutions’ education and outreach efforts related to African American history.