May 17, 2022

Arizona State University Library Archivists Make Marginalized History Accessible to All

From ASU Libraries:

In a small office on the third floor of the Music Building — ASU Library archives’ temporary home during the Hayden renovation — a small desktop scanner whirs quietly as beams of bright light wash over the photo enclosed beneath its lid.

While this is happening, Alana Varner enters information about the photo into an Excel spreadsheet: width and height, the date it was taken, where it was taken, who’s in it.


Tedious though it may be, this operation is part of a significant three-year project titled “Engaging, Educating, and Empowering: Developing Community-Driven Archival Collections.” Supported by a $450,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project has the goal of giving voice to historically marginalized communities by preserving and improving Arizona’s community archives.

Thanks to the efforts of head project archivist Varner and her team, a large portion of the Bj Bud Memorial Archives, the largest LGBT collection in Arizona, will soon be accessible online, to anyone, anywhere.

Over the next two years, the grant will also allow for three more of the library’s other unique and most consistently utilized archives to be accessed online. They are: the Maricopa County Organizing Project (MCOP) Records, detailing local farmworker and civil rights history from 1960-1990; the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Collection, which tells the story of the oldest active Latino civil rights organization in the U.S.; and the Alianza Hispano Americana Records, which tells the story of the oldest Latino mutual aid society.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article

See Also: “Humanizing Queer History” at the Arizona State University Library

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.