Librarians and archivists are in a unique position to explore the cultural and political uses our collections may have, while increasing levels of access and discovery to help promote access to higher education in the community. This notion of Community-Based Archiving describes the methodology behind archival practice that directly involves the communities being documented to organize their records for community intent.
Through the implementation of a Community-Based Archiving approach at the Archives here at Bronx Community College (BCC), I plan to ensure the inclusion of materials necessary to document the contributions students, staff and faculty have made to BCC’s vibrant history while also highlighting the current mission of the college: to expand opportunities in higher education for the diverse Bronx community. My goal is to teach oral history and storytelling methods and techniques to get students engaged with using oral history interviews as primary resource material that links their current lives as students on the campus to their community history or their own personal story.
This includes planning for the collection of oral history interviews, documents, and images from the community, as well as promoting public engagement via the creation of digital humanities initiatives and collaborations with local community organizations. The result is a continual exploration in how we as a collective group can help establish new public spaces, both virtual and physical, that will produce a vital and participatory “living archive” of BCC.