Grant to USC Libraries and L.A. as Subject Helps Reveal the Less-Visible Stories of Los Angeles

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/08/14

The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded the USC Libraries and the L.A. as Subject research alliance a grant to develop a residency program that will support archival education among Los Angeles community archives. The grant is part of the IMLS Laura Bush 21st-Century Librarian Program, which funds training of early-career librarians to manage emerging challenges in libraries and librarianship.

Hosted by the USC Libraries, L.A. as Subject comprises 230 libraries, museums, archives, and private collections of valuable primary sources and other materials that document the history and culture of Los Angeles. The Autry National Center Libraries and Archives and California State University at Northridge (CSUN) Libraries partnered with the USC Libraries in developing the successful proposal and the residency program.

Throughout the term of the grant, the Autry, CSUN and USC each will host and mentor two residents, who in turn will work with community-based archives among the L.A. as Subject membership. The residents will help the smaller organizations and individual collectors apply archival standards and practices to make certain their collections become and remain accessible to students, scholars and the global community of researchers studying the history and meaning of Los Angeles.

“No single institution can capture and preserve the stories that make up the totality of Los Angeles,” said Catherine Quinlan, dean of the USC Libraries. “This generous support from IMLS helps the USC Libraries and our partners ensure that the many collections of less-visible Los Angeles histories become sustainable resources for scholarship on Southern California, the American West and our city as a Pacific Rim metropolis.”

The membership of L.A. as Subject represents a tremendous cultural, linguistic, and disciplinary reach, with collections documenting the experiences of Mexican-American immigrants in Pico Rivera and Boyle Heights, pre-Stonewall LGBTQ history on the West Coast, labor-rights movements, and countless other areas of under-explored history.

The $440,000 grant supports six residents over a period of three years. L.A. as Subject will issue a call for proposals from community archives and private collectors and match residents with archives relating to their research interests. Residents also will participate in the annual L.A. as Subject Archives Bazaar, which brings more than 1,000 students, researchers and history enthusiasts to Doheny Library on the USC campus each fall.

Image: Mexican ice cream and tamale vendor, Nicolas Martinez, standing by two boys who are eating ice cream on Olvera Street, Los Angeles, 1890. (Photo/courtesy of California Historical Society Collection/USC Libraries)

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