Archival Innovator Award: Community-Driven Archives Initiative at ASU

The Community-Driven Archives (CDA) Initiative at Arizona State University Library (ASU Library) is a 2022 recipient of the Archival Innovator Award from the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award recognizes archivists, repositories, or organizations that show creativity in approaching professional challenges or the ability to think outside the professional norm or that have an extraordinary impact on a community through archives programs and outreach.

The CDA is the result of a concerted effort to broaden and deepen ASU’s engagement with its communities. The CDA initiative team, consisting of Nancy Godoy (Director of Community-Driven Archives [CDA] Initiative and Associate Archivist, ASU Library), Lorrie McAllister (Associate University Librarian for Collections Services and Analysis, ASU Library), Kenia Menchaca Lozano (Specialist, Community-Driven Archives [CDA] Initiative, ASU Library), Jessica Salow (Assistant Archivist of Black Collections, ASU Library), Alexander Soto (Director of Labriola National American Indian Data Center, ASU Library), and Alana Varner (Project Coordinator, Digital Borderlands Initiative, University of Arizona), is working to center the knowledge of community archivists who can preserve stories that otherwise would not be represented in the archives. The results of this initiative have created additional partnerships with marginalized communities, a greater focus on preserving BIPOC and LGBTQ+ voices, and three permanently funded positions in the archives, including an archivist of Black collections. It has also empowered ASU Library’s Labriola National American Indian Data Center to adopt and Indigenize CDA approaches for engagement with Tribal communities.

The CDA initiative team has accelerated meaningful change within ASU Library and continues to contribute to national social justice movements. This has occurred through a documentation strategy that centers historically marginalized communities and cultivates intersectionality in a way that not only enhances and diversifies the historical record, but also encourages members of these communities to create their own stories. The CDA’s impactful work provides a model to other organizations seeking to accomplish similar goals.

SAA’s Archival Innovator Award was established in 2012. This year, Laura Gottlieb and Robbie Terman are also recipients of the Archival Innovator Award for their work on the Center for Michigan Jewish Heritage.