This project really was transformative for me. The subject felt powerful but also incredibly sad. I think like many, I’m feeling incredibly vulnerable and unsettled these days, but reading these stories and seeing how marginalized societies and traumatized countries are working to find empowerment through their sorrows really expanded my perspective.
So often in my public library setting my perspective can be so micro-focused. I happen to work in a very different library compared to the rest of the district and the rest of Denver. My library caters to a niche population of Russian-Americans and new immigrants. A lot of my work focuses specifically on serving the needs of such a specific community. I tend to filter everything I learn, both in school and work, through the lens of “will that apply to the needs of my community?”. This project allowed me to think more globally, recognizing that while a lot of the trendy local ideas don’t always make sense for the needs of my community, it’s worthwhile to look further and see what’s on the horizon internationally.
Specifically, participatory archiving feels like a new wave we should all be considering. So much of 2020 has been focused on systems that do not work for everyone and that are fundamentally flawed. It was really powerful to think through a complete realignment of a system and how it could lead to not only a better outcome but have tangible effects on the community in the process.