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Freedom Center Community Archive: a post-custodial example of community-owned service work

Brown, Autumn
Hoffner, Bailey
Pelt-Willis, Tuesdae
What role do publicly-funded libraries have to play in the creation, use, and future success of independent community archives, especially those that serve BIPOC populations? How might the service aspect of our missions provide a foundation for expanding archival and oral history work outside the walls of the library? How can we do this work in a way that is not just community-led, but community-owned? How do we ensure sustainability is built into post-custodial work? The creation of the Freedom Center Community Archive, as part of the larger Clara Luper Civil Rights Center, is one example of such community-owned service work that began, and continues to develop, through collaborative partnerships with both the University of Oklahoma Libraries and Oklahoma State University Library. In this session, we'll discuss the above questions, how to develop partnerships with independent community groups, and explore arguments for why libraries' commitments to service and DEI not only allow for this kind of work, but require it.