Archival Innovator: Brooklyn Connections

Brooklyn Connections, a school outreach program of the Brooklyn Public Library, is the 2019 recipient of the Archival Innovator Award from the Society of American Archivists (SAA).The Archival Innovator Award recognizes archivists, repositories, or organizations that show creativity in approaching professional challenges, the ability to think outside the professional norm or have an extraordinary impact on a community through archives programs and outreach.  

Brooklyn Connections exhibits creativity, innovation, and a commitment to the community by incorporating archival education into 4 through 12 grade curriculum in Brooklyn schools. The program has been in service for twelve years and influenced thousands of young people by connecting them to their local history through the use of primary sources and archival research. While the archives profession often overlooks the opportunity for secondary school children to conduct archival research, Brooklyn Connections scales resources to support students and teachers and enhance their educational opportunities in these spaces. Furthermore, Brooklyn Connections seeks to connect K-12 students and their teachers to the rich and fascinating history of their community. Brooklyn Connections serves as a commendable resource for other organizations pursuing similar programming.

 “In so many instances, students are taught history as a long-gone experience that they can’t connect to. This program bridges those pedagogical gaps by using local primary resources to teach the importance of knowing self through a historical acumen,” wrote a Brooklyn Connections teacher. “It’s the best kept secret in education.”