UC Riverside Library Receives $100,000 Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Grant will fund collaborative project aimed at diversifying U.S. digital history

photos of Tomas Rivera

Photos of former UCR Chancellor Tomás Rivera as a young child and high school senior.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – The University of California, Riverside Library received a National Leadership Grant for Libraries from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The $100,000 grant will fund a collaborative project called Diversifying the Digital Historical Record: Integrating Community Archives in National Strategies for Access to Digital Cultural Heritage. The project seeks to expand the diversity of the nation’s digital history. UCR Library joins Inland Empire Memories, the Shorefront Legacy Center, the South Asian American Digital Archive, Mukurtu, and the Amistad Research Center in partnership on the project.

“We’re excited to be part of this project, which is the first of its kind,” said Bergis Jules, UCR Library’s archivist, and one of the project directors on the grant and project coordinator for Inland Empire Memories. “Community-based archives present a tremendous opportunity to diversify the records documenting our national cultural heritage. This grant allows us to further explore strategies for supporting these types of collection spaces in more meaningful ways.”

The partner institutions will host a series of meetings in New Orleans, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles in 2016 and 2017. The four meetings will consist of a diverse group of community archives curators and practitioners, community members, scholars, and digital collections leaders, who will work toward a broader inclusion of community archives materials in national digital collections and the National Digital Platform. The outcomes of the project will include a summary paper providing recommendations for increased representation of marginalized communities and people in our digital cultural heritage.

“By engaging in open and critical conversations about the current state of cultural heritage documentation in the United States, the Diversifying the Digital Cultural Heritage forums can help us begin to address some of the silences we find in the national historical record, especially relating to histories of people of color, LGBTQ, women, and other marginalized groups,” said Jules.

According to the group’s research, most of the collections documenting the lives of marginalized people in the U.S. exist in spaces outside traditional academic and government institutions. They exist throughout the country as independently curated, highly valuable sites for remembering, owned by the communities they document. Recent research in archival studies notes a growth in community-based archives. These archives are independent, grassroots alternatives to mainstream repositories through which communities make collective decisions about what is of enduring value to them, shape collective memory of their own pasts, and control the means through which stories about their past are constructed.

This is the second grant the UCR Library has received to support diversifying the U.S. digital cultural heritage. In March 2015, Inland Empire Memories and the UCR Library received an Archival Grant from the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, totaling $25,000.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-5893
E-mail: mojgan.sherkat@ucr.edu
Twitter: mojgansherkat

Additional Contacts

Bergis Jules
Tel: (951) 827-3254
E-mail: bergis.jules@ucr.edu

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