This article focuses on ethnic and racial diversity in the archival profession. It draws upon the experiences, reflections, and recommendations of twenty-one Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award recipients to suggest ways in which the archival profession, especially the Society of American Archivists, can improve its recruitment, retention, and mentoring of archivists of color. The study's participants discussed their undergraduate experiences, information and library science (ILS) education, entering the archives field, mentoring relationships, working with ethnically and racially diverse materials and people, the Society of American Archivists, and lessons learned and advice to young archivists. They stressed the importance of networking, professional development, professional organizations, and openness to experimentation. Last, the article suggests five areas for future research.

I had a graduate student tell me I am the first black archivist she's ever met.


Just having someone get up on a stage and say, “Well, we have a diversity committee, and this is what we're doing during diversity committee meetings,” if that's what you think is doing something about diversity, then you've already lost.


There's a lack of understanding of why this is even an issue and why this is important. Within the community that I have developed, it's preaching to the choir; everyone gets it, and we have these really passionate conversations about why it's important, how horrible it is that there's only 2 percent representation. But then I get outside of that little cohort, and it's just a non-issue. People just don't see why it would be a problem.


We're doing a new thing, we're coming to the table speaking on behalf of our ancestors, our profession, and our history as a nation . . . this is my responsibility. I'm not going to be silent.


The Society of American Archivists (established in 1936) and the archival profession at large began with very few nonwhite professionals.1 Demographics changed but glacially. Before the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Harold T. Pinkett, the first African American archivist at the National Archives (1942–1979), estimated that the profession included at best a dozen people of color.2 He lamented the lack of African Americans entering the profession even as new opportunities arose.3 The number of nonwhite professional archivists increased from 17 (1973) to 28 (1979) to 45 (1982).4

The 1978 coalescence of the Society of American Archivists/American Association of State and Local History/American Alliance of Museums Committee on Opportunities for Minorities heralded a new phase of the SAA's diversity efforts. Yet its efforts ebbed.5 By contrast, the 1981 SAA Annual Meeting held in Berkeley, California, augured fresh momentum. A session chaired by Pinkett, “Minorities and the Profession: An Agenda for Action,” led to the establishment of a Task Force on Minorities.

Active between 1981 and 1987 and chaired by Thomas C. Battle of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, the task force sought not only to recruit minorities into the profession, but also to advance their professional opportunities. Pleading other obligations, Pinkett declined to serve on—though he consulted with—the committee.

But the task force encountered challenges. For instance, SAA president (1982–1983) J. Frank Cook confided to SAA executive director Ann Morgan Campbell, “Sometimes, I feel like this minority task force thing is excessively manipulative: am I just a paranoid redneck?”6 Perhaps not coincidentally, Pinkett soon informed Campbell that archivists of color felt much concern regarding SAA's sluggish pace in addressing their concerns.7

Beyond the myopia of some archivists, external factors impeded diversity efforts. Pinkett observed:

The profession is young and has a low profile in American perspective. . . . There is not a clear public perception of the tasks and importance of archivists. A superficial glance at archival work may make it seem not too different from file clerk work, which has never been considered very intellectually challenging or financially rewarding. Moreover, few archivists have attained distinction in American scholarship, which might give the profession more recognition.8

The paucity of archivists of color also deprived other people of color of role models. Further, the pay and prestige of archival work usually failed to match that of academic positions.9

In 1984, Pinkett again professed skepticism as to SAA leaders' investment in diversity.10 He suggested that the president appoint minorities to committees and boards, that the executive director seek foundation funds for training minority archivists, that SAA's representatives on the National Historical Publications and Records Commission recruit minorities, and that SAA publicize the findings of the Task Force on Minorities. Last, he stressed the importance of recruiting minorities into regional archival organizations as well as SAA.11

After recommending the establishment of a roundtable, the Task Force on Minorities disbanded. SAA Council gave its imprimatur to the Minorities Roundtable—the predecessor to the Archives and Archivists of Color Roundtable—in the winter of 1987. The roundtable also launched a newsletter with the following agenda:

To identify and address the concerns of minorities within the archival profession; promote wider participation of minorities in the activities of the profession and its professional organizations; maintain a roster of minority archivists, curators and manuscript librarians; advise SAA on minority concerns; serve as a clearinghouse for minorities in promoting their wider participation at all levels of the profession and the SAA and to enhance the membership base of the SAA; support and promote all efforts to genuinely improve the status of minorities in the profession; and ensure the preservation of archival materials pertaining to minorities. 12

The roundtable subsequently sponsored sessions at the SAA's Annual Meetings, issued a directory, and maintained a listserv. It also established a Minority Student Award in 1993.13 Five years later, Thomas C. Battle successfully lobbied the roundtable's members to rename the award in honor of Pinkett.14

An increasing number of archivists pressed for the diversification of SAA's membership throughout the 1990s.15 The Task Force on Diversity's 1999 report highlighted the organization's commitment to diversity, but cited obstacles that harkened to Pinkett's concerns: archivists' low profile in the public eye in society, the long-standing lack of minority archivists, and modest pay. Its recommendations included developing an organizational statement on diversity, incorporating it into strategic planning, and expanding existing efforts as well as establishing new ones. But a lack of communication and action undercut such efforts.16 “Archivists tend to be driven by practical issues that can be easily solved,” the Task Force cautioned. “Diversity issues are not among this type.”17

Notwithstanding the association's 2002 Resolution on Diversity, Rebecca Hankins wondered: “What will it take for SAA to seriously address the issues of diversity and how do we as an organization push our members to participate, get more involved, i.e. take the initiative?”18 On the other hand, the A*CENSUS determined that the percentage of nonwhites and non-Latinos in the profession had increased from 2.8% (1982) to 7.6% (2005).19

The SAA included diversity among its Core Values by 2011.20 Its Member Needs and Satisfaction Survey of 2012 documented an uptick in minority participation since 2005: people of color constituted 8% of respondents.21 In 2013, finally, SAA stated unequivocally: “By embracing diversity, the Society speaks more effectively on behalf of the entire profession, serves a fuller range of stakeholders, increases organizational credibility, and becomes a stronger advocate for the archives profession.”22 Its actions included cultural competency training, encouraging archivists of color to intern on SAA committees, and developing a diversity forum for the Annual Meeting.23 Momentum for diversity and inclusivity accrued among rank-and-file archivists and archival educators, too.24 Still, as SAA president (2015–2016) Dennis Meissner noted, “We remain too white, too traditional, perhaps too blind to the varieties of diversity that surround us.”25

“After a long and somewhat torturous journey, diversity is now a front-and-center priority,” declaimed Elizabeth Adkins in her SAA presidential remarks.26 She expressed concern, however, over attrition: fewer than half of previous Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award winners remained SAA members. Rooted in Adkins's concern, this study focuses on racial and ethnic diversity. It explores the ways in which archival practitioners, academics, and the Society of American Archivists have approached the recruitment, retention, and mentoring of archivists from underrepresented populations and how their efforts could be made more effective.

Centering on the experiences, reflections, and recommendations of 21 Pinkett Award recipients, this article first addresses the information and library science literature that deals with recruitment, retention, and mentoring of people of color. Next, it sets forth the study's method, which involves purposive sampling, semistructured qualitative interviews, and grounded analysis. Third, its findings concentrate on undergraduate experiences, information and library science (ILS) education, entering the archives field, mentoring relationships, working with diverse materials or diverse people or both, the Society of American Archivists, and lessons learned and advice to young archivists. Last, the article suggests five directions for future research. At once a baseline study and a call to action, this study seeks to promote further constructive, respectful conversation.


Diversity, recruitment and retention, and mentoring have received only modest attention in the ILS and archives literature, even though diversity may well constitute the most vital issue of the twenty-first century in librarianship as in society.27 Notably, Paul T. Jaeger and his colleagues promoted the notion of a “virtuous circle”: increasing faculty diversity to train culturally aware graduates who then foreground inclusive services and outreach.28 This awareness may be encouraged by the ILS curriculum, by recruitment for graduate study and professional positions, and by tailoring libraries', archives', and museums' (LAMs') programs to specific audiences.29

But the literature on diversity invites circumspection. Alice H. Eagly argued, “When aggregated across studies, an extensive research literature on group performance has shown no overall advantage for demographically diverse groups, with a small tendency toward disadvantage, especially on subjective measures of performance.”30 She upbraided social scientists not only for failing to measure correlations, but for presenting and disseminating specious research results as if “evidence-based findings.”31 Eagly first called for research that determines the situations in which diversity produces positive outcomes (however measured). Second, she suggested broadening notions of diversity: its benefits expand well beyond rudimentary, quantifiable gains in profitability and productivity.32 The present study centers on these situations and on such nonquantifiable benefits.

Recruiting and retention

Barriers to the recruitment of students of color remain formidable. The general public continues to hold a low image of librarianship and by extension, archives; ILS professional's salaries tend to be relatively low; and ILS faces competition from related professions.33 One study showed the effectiveness of targeted advertisements and personal contacts and communications to people of color (African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, and Hispanics).34 Effective recruitment strategies included assistantships, scholarships, and other financial aid (mentioned by 82% of participants), the ethnic diversity of faculty members (64%), the presence of role models of color (62%), the investment of faculty and staff of color in the recruitment process (57%), and opportunities for students of color to work in ILS fields (53%).35 Apparently, no single recruitment strategy for minority groups suffices.36

Recruitment of minority students represents but a first step: students of color need considerable support after they matriculate.37 Kim and Sin's respondents (comprising African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asians) underlined the importance of assistantships, scholarships, and financial aid (77%), of finding full-time work in the ILS field (59%), of a faculty and staff sensitive to minority student needs (56%), of mentoring (54%), and of academic and career advising (52%).38 More broadly, 6 actions promote retention. First, programs should hire more minority faculty members. Second, faculty need to make concerted efforts to get to know minority students, particularly early on in the program. Third, students of color should be provided with counseling in addition to faculty and staff support services. Fourth, minority students need access to local minority professionals, institutions, and associations and organizations. Fifth, curricula and class schedules must integrate diverse materials in their content and remain flexible in their scheduling. Finally, students of color need work and career preparation opportunities.39 Overall, however, the effectiveness of recruitment and retention efforts by ILS programs remains uncertain.40


An important facet of retention, mentoring continues to attract professional visibility: simply acquiring a mentor seems the common denominator of professional advice.41 Yet studies suggest a more cautious interpretation, and scholars debate the benefits that accrue to mentor and mentee. For instance, mentors potentially increase their understanding of new professional and organizational challenges and trends, diversify their professional network, and improve their communication skills.42 At best, they serve as advisers, coaches, cheerleaders, guides, role models, and critics.43

Mentees, too, may benefit a great deal by engaging in professional acculturation, development and networking, by assuming new roles and responsibilities, and by discussing writing, publishing, promotion, and tenure with their mentors.44 In one of the few studies of mentoring in the archives field, Marion Hoy found the practice crucial to the development and achievement of participants' professional and intellectual goals.45 A second study, centering on associational mentoring among members of the Northwest Archivists (NWA), discerned that three-quarters of mentors and 70% of mentees fully or generally agreed that their match proved salutary.46 As an ancillary benefit, the vast majority (90%) of mentees said that participating in the program improved their opinions of NWA.47 A third study (a meta-analysis that included both academic and professional settings) found mentoring significantly related to numerous positive outcomes, from attitudinal and interpersonal to motivational, from health-related to career outcomes.48 But effect sizes were small; thus caution about overestimating mentoring's payoff is necessary.

Three studies drew still more nuanced verdicts. Tammy D. Allen and her colleagues' meta-analysis determined mentoring more effective in measures involving career satisfaction (attitudes, interpersonal relationships, and involvement) than in objective metrics regarding career success (or physical health).49 Mandi Goodsett and Andrew Walsh concluded that although many of their study's participants lauded their mentoring experiences, some thought they had no—or even a negative—effect on their work, namely by dint of poor pairings or an insufficiently structured program.50 Perhaps most striking, a third study contended that mentoring increased the sample's interest in staying at their current institutions, but not in remaining in the ILS profession as a whole.51

Studies suggest that in planning a mentorship program, stakeholders should first conduct a needs assessment of the mentee. Second, teaching and learning education and training should be provided to mentors and mentees alike. Third, written plans should adumbrate a timeline; a schedule for communication, roles, responsibilities, and expectations for both mentor and mentee; and explicit goals and projected outcomes. Fourth, although the effects of the mentoring relationship may not be immediate, much less easy to observe, assessment and evaluation are crucial throughout the mentoring relationship.52 Finally, an optimal mentoring experience likely combines formal and informal, one-on-one and group, peer and expert-novice.53 Overall, the literature indicates the importance of and challenges to recruitment and retention of underrepresented people in ILS; it suggests further that mentoring can play a positive role in these efforts.

Qualitative research yields rich data about participants' views on social life.54 This study relies upon qualitative semistructured interviews and purposive sampling.55 The author located email addresses for 28 of the 32 Pinkett Award recipients (1994 to 2015), and sent three rounds of solicitation emails.56 Between August of 2015 and March of 2016, 21 recipients were interviewed (20 by phone and 1 by Skype). Interviews lasted between 35 and 90 minutes. (See  Appendix A for the study questionnaire.) Interviews were transcribed and open coded (through NVivo and by hand) according to the tenets of Constructivist Grounded Theory.57

This study's findings clustered in 7 areas: undergraduate experiences, information and library science, the archives field, mentoring relationships, diversity at work, the Society of American Archivists, and lessons learned and recommendations to archivists of color.

Undergraduate experiences

In some cases, participants' undergraduate experiences, whether through work, using the archives, or a mentoring relationship, triggered their interest in ILS graduate work. First, based on this sample, undergraduate work in the humanities (and to a much lesser extent, the social sciences) appears the most common conduit into archival work.58 One outreach possibility may be to ratchet up outreach toward students who pursue concentrations in the natural or social sciences. The advent of big data, especially in those fields, and the resulting need for digital curation, may attract people of color from a wider range of college majors to the archives field.59 For example, the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering found considerable success introducing archives to undergraduates pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) studies.60

Second, 6 interviewees worked in campus libraries as undergraduates; all recalled their experiences with approbation. Commented P7, who needed a flexible on-campus job, “It was the social connection, it was the money, it was all the things that were affiliated with that.” P10, who worked at a local institution comprising a museum, a library, and an archives, noted, “I was given a lot of leeway and a lot of mentorship to work in a lot of areas beyond the museum field. I was working with some archival documents, some rare books and manuscripts, so that's where I started increasing my awareness.” Two of these six ascribed their entry into ILS to their undergraduate work. P5 observed, “That's really what captured me . . . and made me think that, hey, this is something that I might want to do professionally.”

Four participants worked with archival materials before they embarked upon their MSLIS degrees: 1 in high school and 3 as undergraduates. As a high school student, P8 worked at a local museum and at a local public library's history room. By contrast, 3 participants discussed their experiences using archives for research projects. P4, for example, recalled, “I just fell in love with how you could take one primary source . . . and really just build an entire story . . . I got goose bumps . . . I asked one of my professors, I was just like, ‘I could do this all my life. What can I do?’ She's the one who directed me to look into library science.” P9 meanwhile pursued archival work on two levels. First, she relied upon archival material to ground her thesis in African American and African studies. Second, she cobbled together the African American Studies Department's first archives on her own initiative. “I just got really passionate about it,” she noted.

Third, 6 interviewees spoke about their undergraduate mentors and the ways in which those mentors spurred them to consider the MSLIS.61 Mentors advised participants to exploit opportunities in three areas: internships (2 participants), public history (2), and information and library science (2). For instance, P4's faculty mentor told her, “‘You love research, you love to read a story, you love history. . . . You should look at information and library science.”

Fortuity played a central role in these participants' experiences. It remains difficult, therefore, to offer blanket prescriptions regarding early recruitment of people of color. That said, archivists and ILS faculty members can further encourage history and other humanities-oriented colleagues to use archival materials in classes as well as assignments. Similarly, not only can archivists hire undergraduate student workers, they can also collaborate with librarians to arrange for student library workers to tour the archives and to meet with the archivist(s). Archivists might even arrange with librarians a work-sharing program in which students would devote part of their time to working with archival collections. Again, it seems that simple exposure to the archives whether through work or school proves most salient in drawing students to careers in archival work.

In this respect, participants commented on recruiting strategies. Four participants favored recruiting undergraduates; two also recommended reaching out to high school students.62 P11 said, “Oftentimes, people just don't know about [archives] as an opportunity, and once they learn about it, they become excited about it, so bringing materials, bringing primary resources to either undergraduates, or even school-aged kids, to introduce them to the prospect, I think is really important.” “To get people to want to become archivists and librarians they have to see archivists and librarians that look like them,” P10 contributed. On this point, P12 noted, “every undergraduate class or master's class that I take . . . into the archives, there's at least one person that's like ‘you can be with these things all the time? I could work here, really?’” Last, P20 favored outreach efforts aimed toward students outside of ILS programs.63

Information and library science

Participants discussed their trajectories into ILS, their choice of ILS program, that program's diversity, and its support of people of color. Some participants gravitated toward information and library science by dint of word of mouth, some as a second career, and some as a result of career research. First, friends (in the cases of 2 participants) or professional colleagues (5 participants) influenced interviewees' choice of the ILS program. For instance, a high school friend of P3's told her, “‘I'm going to study for the GRE so I can go to grad school and get my MLIS,’ and I was like, ‘that's what it's called. That's what I want to do.’” Professional colleagues or mentors meanwhile affected the deliberations of 5 participants. P2 remarked, “I liked academia, but I didn't want to be totally tucked in the Ivory Tower. I liked the idea of being able to work with non-specialists . . . I thought about going to a museum, and then someone I knew from one of my early jobs said ‘Oh, my friend's an archivist, and she gets to do exhibits,’ and I was like, ‘there you go, that's what I'll do.’”

Second, 5 interviewees characterized ILS as a second career. P12, for example, began her career as a journalist, but as she recalled, “I really enjoyed research. I felt like I needed to get off of the sinking ship that was journalism and get onto a more slow-leaking ship.” Two interviewees worked initially as teachers. P6 recalled, “I had to do something different and I used to hang out in the library all the time . . . I always thought that the librarians were so cool.”

Third, 10 participants mentioned career research. P9 considered a master's degree in African American studies or history, but then chanced upon her program's dual degree in ILS and history. “I was just randomly doing searches, and once I saw that, I was like, ‘that makes perfect sense: I love history but don't want to be a professor, and this library/archives thing sounds great.’” P7 enjoyed a similar epiphany: “I like research, I like information, I like knowledge, I like the idea of being smart and being around smart people. I like universities, so dang it, maybe I should go to school for library science.”

Three participants learned about ILS through career placement materials. “Whenever I did the career tests about aptitude,” recalled P1, “it kept going back to library information people. So I finally decided fate was telling me something.” Along these lines, P8 reflected, “I . . . was looking through career books and trying to find something related to history that didn't require teaching, and I just came across archives, and it sounded like something I wanted to do.” For many participants, loyalty to the humanities runs deep.

Even after they decided to earn an MSLIS, interviewees weighed various factors in choosing a program. The vast majority (18) of participants mentioned 1 or more of 4 factors in justifying their choice of program (see Table 1).

Table 1.

Choosing an ILS Program

Choosing an ILS Program
Choosing an ILS Program

First, 4 participants considered personal (namely family) relationships. Second, 4 considered ILS program rankings. P4 summed up, “It's like, ‘where are you going to go for your graduate studies that's going to get you a job, that's going to get you some networking.’” Third, 6 cited financial considerations. Two committed to their programs because of financial aid. As P11 put it dryly, “That made that decision pretty easy.” (Four others mentioned in-state tuition.) Fourth, 7 participants invoked their programs' location. The proliferation of online ILS offerings, however, may undercut the relevance of place in future students' decisions. Perhaps most striking, no participants mentioned program diversity as a factor in their selection of program, but it loomed large in their educational experiences.

ILS program diversity

Four participants characterized their ILS programs as diverse. Three, in fact, called their programs “very diverse”; the combined Latino and Asian American populations made one participant's program majority minority. P7 observed, “There were a lot of people of color in my class . . . I'm surprised now to think about it.” On the other hand, 8 interviewees characterized their programs as effectively homogeneous.64 (On diversity in ILS, see Tables 2 and 3.) Three interviewees recalled being the only people of color in their programs or even departments. One of those three, P4, understandably found the experience “a little bit isolating and disappointing.” Recruitment and retention efforts aside, ILS programs may stimulate diversity by integrating diversity issues into the curriculum, by providing internship and work-study opportunities, by marketing ILS more effectively to non–native English speakers, and by encouraging alumni to recruit other people of color.65

Table 2.

Students Enrolled as of Fall 2014 (Association for Library and Information Science Educators, ALISE) (52 Accredited Programs; 13,544 Students)

Students Enrolled as of Fall 2014 (Association for Library and Information Science Educators, ALISE) (52 Accredited Programs; 13,544 Students)
Students Enrolled as of Fall 2014 (Association for Library and Information Science Educators, ALISE) (52 Accredited Programs; 13,544 Students)
Table 3.

Faculty Demographics as of January 1, 2015 (ALISE)

Faculty Demographics as of January 1, 2015 (ALISE)
Faculty Demographics as of January 1, 2015 (ALISE)

Numerical representation notwithstanding, 6 participants thought their programs supported minority students. P19's program, notably, “responded very well to this need that emerged among students of Hawaiian ancestry to have more of a focus on Hawaii and the Pacific.” P12 called the faculty at her institution “very aware”; she thought they did a “pretty good job.” (Her program has a required course focusing on diversity.) On the other hand, 5 interviewees felt their programs extended nominal support. P4 maintained, “If you weren't moving toward the PhD track, you were just part of . . . the graduate student cattle call.” Though a “strong advocate” for her program, P20 felt that faculty members “called on me to . . . kind of be the token and to represent them when it was necessary.” Though P14 also saw little support for minority students, she stipulated, “What you want is for people to treat you the same.”

There seems no excuse for a lack of specific support of students of color in ILS programs. Much support currently flows from particular faculty members' initiatives. Programs might establish a designated position in which ILS faculty members would serve (on a rotating basis) as part of their service obligations. This would encourage both faculty members and students of color to deal explicitly and frequently with diversity issues. It would also help students experience a variety of perspectives on diversity from various areas of ILS.

Entering the archives field66

Interviewees described their entry into archival work, their experiences with their programs' SAA student chapters and learning about and being nominated for the Pinkett Award, attending the SAA Annual Meeting and meeting members of the Archives and Archivists of Color Roundtable (AACR), and the career ramifications of receiving the award. At the time of their matriculations, 7 interviewees planned to specialize in archives. On the other hand, serendipity figured in for 10 participants. P7 recalled, “I started out undecided . . . I wanted to pretty much do a lot, like everything.” She expanded: “I was trying to drink from all these cups and decide which one I want to guzzle down a gallon of. Should I do archives? Well, that tasted pretty good.”

Although fortuity played a central role in participants' entering the archives field, more publicity about and a higher visibility of the archives concentration inside as well as outside ILS programs, through fliers and listserv announcements, for example, could attract students. Indeed, one can scarcely overstate the importance of frequent and consistent outreach and awareness raising.

The Society of American Archivists student chapters and the Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award

Four participants did not join their programs' SAA student chapters.67 (A student chapter did not exist at 2 other institutions.) P4 reflected of her program's SAA student chapter, “If I can be candid and honest . . . I was disappointed.” Though she sat in on a couple of meetings, she felt like “Sister Outsider.” On the other hand, nearly three-quarters of participants (15 of 21) joined their programs' chapters. (One participant even revived her program's moribund chapter.) They most commonly adduced networking and professionalization as their most important reasons for joining.

Though SAA student chapters need to serve as hubs of archival activity in ILS programs, maintaining continuity between cohorts remains challenging: most ILS programs require only 36 credit hours. It is therefore incumbent upon archives faculty members, particularly each chapter's faculty advisor, to facilitate such continuity. For instance, they can encourage students to serve as student chapter officers; they can also help these officers arrange and advertise events and conduct outreach. Last, they might set up a student chapter social media presence geared toward alumni as well as current students.

Fifteen interviewees (a total of sixteen responses) spoke about being nominated for the Pinkett Award. They learned about it through peers or colleagues (1), their own diligence (e.g., by monitoring listservs or by reading the professional literature) (8), and faculty members (7). P2 recalled, “I was the kind of person who was looking for opportunities, so probably I just identified the major associations, and then I probably just went to see what was available, and just went after it.” Individual initiative aside, archives faculty members should encourage (or remind) their students to apply for the Pinkett Award and related scholarships.68

The Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting, the Archives and Archivists of Color Roundtable (AACR), and subsequent professional engagement

The Pinkett Award sponsors each recipient's attendance at the SAA Annual Meeting. Participants' reflections on the meeting ranged from enthusiasm to disappointment. First, 6 participants enjoyed the SAA Annual Meetings at which they received the award. The award “Opens up the conversation. . . . Being in a room of more senior professionals, they're like, ‘Oh, you're the Pinkett this year.’ It gave us something to start talking about off the top” (P20).

P18 also enjoyed her experience. “I was exposed to a lot more diversity,” she recalled, “meeting other archivists of color and other minority students. It was very valuable attending that conference, getting exposed. There are a lot more archivists on the East Coast than in the West, and there is a lot more diversity, more archivists of color on the East Coast and the Southeast.” Finally, P11 equivocated. She described her experience as “great in many ways,” although “a little weird.” She elaborated: “I had to explain to the chair of [the Archives and Archivists of Color Roundtable] what ‘Chicana’ meant . . . she said, ‘I've never seen that term before.’”

On the other hand, 5 participants expressed disappointment. P19 noted of the meeting, “It's not as large as ALA, but it's just really large, and if you're just one person there from a community that really isn't represented within the roundtable for people of color, I felt isolated a little bit . . . I just turned into a shy person.” P4 felt a similar sense of isolation. “I met some really great people,” she stipulated, “but overall it just wasn't a warm and welcoming vibe.” P9, too, called the meeting “very uncomfortable”: “I just completely wasted that conference away, because I absolutely didn't know anyone.” These ambivalent experiences reflect poorly on the profession. They indicate a squandered opportunity for mentoring to occur. For example, established professionals might introduce conference newcomers to other professionals, ask them to meals (or to coffee), or offer to copresent with them.69 It would behoove SAA or the Archives and Archivists of Color Roundtable (AACR) or both to pair Pinkett awardees with mentors or docents for the week (and ideally, beyond). Approved by SAA Council in January of 2012, the Students and New Archives Professionals (SNAP) Roundtable might explore this possibility.70

At the Annual Meeting, interviewees met with members of the Archives and Archivists of Color Roundtable, the award's sponsoring body. Their levels of engagement with the roundtable both at and after the Annual Meeting varied. On one end of the spectrum, 2 participants did not join the AACR. Though members, 3 others did not participate in the AACR. On the other end, some honorees benefited from the roundtable. P1 touted its “supportive and welcoming environment.” She reflected, “It was really touching to see people opening their wallets up and putting money in there to support the next generation of archivists of color.” “The people who I was meeting included founding members of the roundtable,” P11 recalled; these elder statespersons “very much took the time, and felt it was a duty of theirs, to meet and support these new members of the profession.” P14 agreed: “you end up meeting all sorts of people . . . I like that, because every minority group has different issues.” Last, P19 pointed out:

You have African Americans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, Hawaiians, Native Americans, [but] even within the current roundtable for archivists of color you can see that it's really heavily focused on one type of people of color. So just being mindful of that. And then figure out ways to best create mentors and support from that.71

At best, then, the AACR introduced awardees to peer and professional support networks. “Just being informed already is a support system,” contributed P13. “Knowing that there are other organizations and other groups that are focused on collections similar to mine, helps me be reminded that I'm not all alone here.”72 P1 reflected, “Many of the [AACR] members are my good friends in the field now, and we can talk about . . . the need to speak frankly about where we want to go, how we're going to progress, and what we can do to help each other.” Although P2 cautioned, “Everyone is not interested in necessarily being part of an association that's based on a racial or ethnic commonality,” she appreciated having a “safe space” outside her home institution. Along these lines, finally, P1 encouraged AACR members to assume leadership positions in other roundtable sections as well as in AACR. Given participants' estimation of the body's importance, AACR-sponsored mentoring seems propitious. A survey disseminated through the roundtable's listserv would shed light on this possibility.

The Annual Meeting and the AACR imprinted 7 participants' career paths regarding leadership roles. P15 contemplated, “once you get involved it's kind of like you can't not be involved because people keep tapping you to do different things.” These expectations could prove weighty in practice, as 4 participants indicated. For example, P13 recounted, “I'm still a member of the Roundtable, but I haven't been as active as I was initially . . . my work responsibilities have grown since then . . . I don't want to spread my commitments too wide.” P4 noted, “Unfortunately, I didn't have an opportunity to branch out and get more involved in SAA just because of my coursework and working.” After the Annual Meeting, P19 reported, “you kind of go back to your individual silo and you just do your thing.” To counter this, SAA might extend the duration of free membership or provide funds for former awardees to attend subsequent Annual Meetings and continue to build community (P20). More broadly, Pinkett Award recipients would benefit from assistance in setting expectations and balancing multiple commitments. Mentors might provide much of this assistance.

Mentoring: being mentored and mentoring others

Participants discussed being mentored by ILS faculty members (advisors and others), job or internship supervisors, or both. Nineteen interviewees weighed in on their relationships with faculty members. Perhaps most striking, 5 participants did not feel mentored. Said P2 bluntly, “I do my own thing . . . and get through it. No one really reached out too much.” P6 and P8 characterized their relationships with faculty members as professional as opposed to mentor/mentee. P19 characterized the faculty members with whom she worked as “kind of a step down from a mentor.”

Other participants praised their mentoring experiences with faculty advisors, with other faculty members in their ILS programs, with faculty members outside their program, and with supervisors at their internships or work-study positions. First, 8 interviewees cited their faculty advisors. P10 characterized her advisor as a “mentor and friend,” P11 called her advisor “absolutely a mentor to this day,” and P12 thought her advisor “very good at getting people to fall in love with archives.” Second, 2 participants drew support from ILS faculty members (other than or in addition to their advisors). P11, for one, found her graduate assistantship supervisor tremendously supportive. P6 developed relationships with 2 other ILS African American female faculty members whose support proved “crucial emotionally and career-wise.” Third, 2 participants received support from African American Studies Departments. P9 concluded, “Library school was good . . . but African American Studies was where your soul got fulfilled.”73

This data suggest 4 conclusions. First, the nature of ILS programs, namely their brief duration (often 36 credit hours), may impede the development of mentoring relationships. Second, insofar as not one interviewee matriculated to work with a specific faculty member, archival programs have an opportunity to engage in more effective outreach to prospective students. Third, given the increasing number of archives faculty, mentoring relationships potentially may be more robust than ever. Finally, students of color need support from whites and people of color both in- and outside the archives concentration.

Aside from academic mentoring, participants discussed their experiences being mentored during their internships or jobs as well as their efforts to mentor others. Internships ideally foreground structured experiential learning and professional acculturation and networking.74 Interns learn to “think like archivists.”75 One scholar found that nearly 10% of her sample began their careers as student employees in the archives.76

First, 5 participants spoke enthusiastically about being mentored during work-study experiences or internships. P11 recalled her work-study appointment at the University Archives: “It was a very small shop at the time . . . there was definitely a significant amount of hands-on training, and also just a really strong support network.” P1 said of her work at one of her institution's subject libraries, “I feel really fortunate that the staff . . . were like ‘I've got a project. I'd love to teach you how to do this, to show you.’ It wasn't just like, ‘Oh, it is drudge work and I want to give it away to the student worker.’”

Second, internship supervisors mentored 3 participants. P10 felt “very, very fortunate to meet some wonderful folks there, people who . . . really wanted to mentor me in terms of looking at the information field very broadly.” Though P19 characterized her internship supervisor—an “archivist by default”—as supportive, she hedged: “It was just like ‘OK, you do your work and I'll check in periodically.’” In the end, internship and job supervisors proved nearly as influential as faculty members in mentoring aspiring archivists of color.77 Both faculty members and internship and work-study mentors must be available to and invested in students of color.

Notwithstanding their own experiences being mentored, more than half of participants mentored other people of color. As with professional involvement with AACR, a foundational challenge emerged: balancing one's own early career responsibilities with such service. Along these lines, P18 noted, “Now that I'm settled in my job, I should be helping out other students, especially students of color.” P5 effectively echoed P18: “Early on, I feel like I was still trying to get my own feet set professionally, so I didn't think I had much to offer anyone.”

Nine participants mentored other people of color informally. They provided feedback, shared information, and assisted others in searching for jobs and in writing cover letters and curricula vitae. P9 noted, “I try to be visible on social media; I try to be visible in the professional organization, because I know what it's like to not see people of color up there doing things. I want people of color to contact me and ask me questions.” But not all awardees felt comfortable reaching out so directly. P21 confessed of her mentoring efforts, “I would say not in a formal way. In some respects . . . I've questioned how effective a mentor I could be.” Her reservations suggest the need for a mentor/mentee training program to ground the relationship.

Two participants served as formal mentors for their professional associations. P8 offered advice to her mentee about outreach, involvement in local and regional archival institutions and organizations, and networking. On the other hand, P2 expressed a touch of frustration regarding her experience. “I tried to affirm and make [the mentee] feel validated,” she recalled, “but I don't know what I could've done to have imparted the advice and get her to take it a little bit more seriously, just in choosing classes, to doing the right internships to ensure that she'd be able to get a great job.”

Eight interviewees reflected upon their experiences mentoring others. They recommended immersive mentoring (2 participants), peer mentoring (3), and early career intervention (3). First, 2 participants favored immersive mentoring. P19 suggested, “bring [mentees] not just to a conference, but perhaps tag them on with a mentor who can take them around, who can really support them and guide them. . . . Or perhaps maybe having a cohort of awardees that need to work on some kind of project together, so that they're actually building deeper relations aside from just surface level.” These suggestions merit SAA's consideration. Second, 3 participants plugged peer mentoring. P6 developed a peer network of African American women of similar age: “we would really support each other . . . any time any of us had to do a presentation, be it a job talk or a regular presentation at a conference . . . we would . . . help each other, and quiz each other on negotiations . . . we had a saying ‘you have to negotiate like a white boy to get what you need,’ and even if it feels uncomfortable, asking for a salary that you think they won't pay, you need to do it.” “. . . . It's like we schooled ourselves,” she concluded. Third, 3 participants emphasized early career intervention. P5 suggested, “Just having familiar faces, or people from similar backgrounds . . . and just getting encouragement.” In this vein, P10 recommended asking people of color new to the profession to recruit others into it.

Formal and informal mentoring

Finally, participants reflected on informal, formal, or hybrid mentoring methods. Four interviewees felt that informal outstripped formal mentoring in effectiveness.78 “As someone who had very strong mentor relationships that were very natural and organic,” P11 reflected, “I have a really hard time with the more formal structure.” Also favoring informal mentoring, P9 said, “Life is so crazy; you can't be all up in people's business all the time.” (P9 and P3 also noted that formal mentoring has a place for shyer people.79) By contrast, 2 participants advocated for formal mentoring. P6 thought such initiatives would particularly help archivists of color seeking upper-level administration positions.80 Last, 6 interviewees preferred a combination of formal and informal. P2 suggested, “Informal works better, because usually that's happening because the relationship's blooming in a natural way, but I think that formal mentoring is really important, because otherwise you don't even have the opportunity.” In either case, as P20 asserted, mentors and mentees need to establish expectations regarding their collaboration (e.g., working on cover letters or resumes, professionalization efforts, or networking and support).

Diversity at work: diverse collections and diverse personnel

Seven participants reflected on working with diverse collections. P4 observed, “We tend to look to see where we are, where is our face within the literature, where are our stories?” P19 stressed the need for collection diversity “not only for scholarship, but for identity, and linking identity to archives, and linking the lack of these records, or the lack of these records being accessible, to the lack of us really knowing who we are.” Conversely, P2 expressed frustration at not being able to work with diverse collections at the “very traditional, kind of white, institution” at which she interned. Yet as P1 highlighted, “Not all archivists of color want to specifically work with collections related to people of color . . . it's easy for us to get shoehorned into those types of positions.” P7 similarly objected to such pigeonholing. She recalled, “When I became a diversity scholar, I remember sitting around the table at the dinner . . . thinking, ‘gee, all these people are totally drinking the Kool-Aid. They're going to become big diversity librarians.’” “That's going to be a center-stone of their career,” she elaborated, “and I couldn't identify with this.”

Aside from working (or not) with diverse collections, interviewees discussed working with other people of color. As ILS graduate students, 3 participants did so. P4 enthused of her institution's diversity efforts, “They . . . talked the talk and they walked the walk. They really did.” Four participants worked professionally with other people of color. For instance, P5 characterized the library workforce at her institution as “maybe the most diverse place I've worked,” though she issued the caveat, “the bar is low.” The level of diversity at P2's institution evolved during her tenure “from so-so, to pretty good, to . . . amazing.”

P15 addressed diversity both in collections and in the profession. “It's this chicken and egg argument,” she observed incisively:

You're not going to have people of color interested in collections or becoming a professional until you have collections that reflect their experience. But you're also not going to have institutions that are super-interested in collecting other experiences until there's a user base or a professional that is interested in collecting in that area. It's this vicious dilemma of collecting for women without being a woman, collecting for African Americans without being African American, until the point where you can justify the budget expense that says this is an important thing, and then you can hire a person of color that is interested in their issues and will collect more aggressively in that area. . . . Then you get more people involved. They're like, “oh, I can go to the archives and they have stuff on African Americans in this community. That's really cool!”

People of color would benefit from working with diverse collections, even if such work lies outside their primary work duties: each should be exposed to as inclusive an experience with collections and colleagues as feasible. Similarly, internship and work supervisors should encourage their mentees to develop relationships with other people of color as part of a robust support system. Such prosaic efforts would almost certainly promote retention.

The Society of American Archivists

Professional archival organizations show considerable variety in the ways in which they promote diversity.81 They may hold diversity workshops, engage in outreach, collaboratively provide financial support (for instance through paid internships), and encourage self-reflection.82 This study's participants spoke about SAA assuming a more proactive approach and about its efforts to provide financial support, namely the Mosaic Scholarship. They also contributed recommendations regarding recruitment and retention.


On one hand, P10 reflected, “The . . . discussion is moving more towards a more positive approach as to what we can do, instead of looking at what people have done wrong.” She insisted, “It's just never been my experience in the archives and library field that there are bad-intentioned actors.” P20 praised SAA's recent efforts: “I appreciate the fact that people are willing to talk about diversity in an honest way, or a relatively honest way, and are willing to take action . . . towards addressing some of the big issues . . . it sends the right message.” Bolstering P20's assertion, P2 argued, “Unless [SAA] members hear it from the top strongly and clearly, there's no way to make progress.”

By contrast, P11 vouchsafed SAA credit for its “good intentions,” but underscored its “abysmal” diversity statistics. “I've become a bit more cynical over the whole thing,” she confessed. P9 expressed skepticism akin to P11's: “[Diversity is] not a commitment yet, it's a project right now. I think it's getting there . . . but only because people in the organization who care about diversity keep pushing, and keep getting into positions within the organization where they can say, ‘hey, we need to keep making this a priority.’” Likewise P4 contended, “We've done the evaluations, we've done the assessments, we know it's an issue . . . so what can we do to make it change other than talking?”

Contributors to the Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable Newsletter adduced 5 strategies. They suggested coordinating initiatives for National History Day, adapting the outreach strategies of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the American Council of Research Libraries (ACRL), working with schools to give students work experience at repositories and opportunities to present at SAA Annual Meeting sessions, participating in local community career days, and holding “meet and greet” activities in cities across the country.83 As a way to leverage resources, AACR senior co-chair (2009–2011) Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty proposes collaboration among SAA and related professional organizations such as RBMS and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).84 People might also take advantage of regional as well as national associations, given their generally more modest dues.85

Financial support

Participants discussed potential strategies for recruitment and retention of people of color. Of the Mosaic Scholarship and the Pinkett Award, P1 noted, “So many of those [archivists of my generation] have been through one of those programs, and those are the people who are in leadership and the activist positions today.” P20 reflected, “It was really nice to be treated in a special way.” But participants also adumbrated ways in which the Mosaic Scholarship could be improved. P1 identified 2 issues: first, the Mosaic is limited to ARL institutions. Second, given that the Mosaic is grant funded, scalability and sustainability remain open questions. According to 5 interviewees, the American Library Association's SPECTRUM Scholarship initiative offers a useful template. ALA provides scholarship money as well as a trip to its annual meeting (in some cases, institutions match the SPECTRUM funding, thus reducing student loan debt). Moreover, SPECTRUM cultivates leadership skills. Recipient of a SPECTRUM scholarship, P2 underscored her “very strong feeling of gratitude” to ALA.86


Participants offered recommendations for recruitment and retention. Nine provided recruitment suggestions. First, P3 favored a joint recruiting effort between SAA and ILS graduate programs. Second, 3 participants called for increased financial support, and 1 for an increased number of paid internships.87 Third, P8 urged, “It sounds overly simple, but just outreach, letting people know what it is we exactly do, and why it's important.” Similarly, P18 reflected, “Librarians market themselves a lot better than archivists . . . everybody knows that librarians are like teachers or policemen or firefighters, everyone in the community knows what they are . . . but archivists . . . They are working in the basement and by themselves.”

Five interviewees spoke about retention and underscored professional development opportunities. As P14 concluded, “What you want to do is suck them into the belly of SAA.” For instance, P19 suggested exposing young archivists to the work of various SAA roundtables in addition to AACR. Second, P13 advocated for research or professional development grants focusing on diversity studies or diverse collections. In this regard, P8 capitalized on her institution's professional development funds to complete the SAA's Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) program. Despite always-tight budgets, perhaps SAA or regional archival organizations could subsidize such professional development initiatives. Third, P6 favored the establishment of training programs to groom archivists of color for senior-level administrative positions. (As P9 put it, “We're doing all this great work . . . but we don't see how we could get to the top leadership positions . . . that's depressing.”) Fourth, P20 stressed the importance of SAA's public face:

It would be nice to see SAA take public stands on situations . . . like when we talk about the Black Lives Matter movement in Twitter, maybe being able to have some kind of webinar or conversation about how we archive that or how we talk about that. These are the conversations that I'm having with my colleagues, how we intersect the black experience, and especially in today's technology and news cycle, how we can archive it or how we can remember it in ways that are meaningful. Having SAA support those conversations, or help those conversations be leveraged, would just help reinforce the fact that SAA supports these conversations happening.

Dropping SAA membership

As of 2016, 11 of 21 participants remained SAA members. The 8 participants who explained their decision to leave SAA did so for 2 reasons. First, 4 interviewees found the cost prohibitive. P1 noted, “People of color unfortunately are affected by economic downturns and a lack of . . . family wealth, and . . . they often don't have that safety net that other people may have.” Second, 4 participants dropped their memberships by virtue of their early career trajectories. For example, P15 recalled, “I applied for probably hundreds of archives jobs around the country and got a handful of interviews but no other offers. . . . My wife has been the main breadwinner, so we focused on her career . . . mine was going nowhere.” Still others simply found themselves working in libraries instead of archives, and thus shifted the focus of their professional involvement.

Lack of educational funding and of job opportunities constitutes a familiar story in the archival profession. It seems shortsighted, however, for SAA not to do more to retain Pinkett Award recipients, who are selected both for their academic achievements and their potential contributions to the profession. Like P20, P8 recommended that SAA provide either a longer (i.e., more than one year) SAA membership gratis to recipients or further travel subsidies for SAA Annual Meetings (or both).

Lessons learned and advice to archivists of color

Participants' advice to aspiring archivists of color fell into 4 classes: networking, professional development, professional organizations, and openness to experimentation. First, 9 participants proselytized for networking.88 P19 and P2 urged archivists to do so by volunteering, securing internships, involving themselves in student chapters of professional organizations, and ferreting out scholarships. P15 summed up, “It gives you a sense of hopefulness when you know that you can call somebody or you know that somebody's going to call you when they have a job. P4 concluded, “Network, network, network.”89

But 3 participants spoke to the networking challenges faced specifically by people of color. P6 noted, “You're not going to have the same connections as a white person. . . . You're not traveling in those same pockets of power . . . it helps to have people who know who you are and can gear you in the right place or network with you, or really give you honest feedback.” Even so, as P4 counseled, “Don't just look for mentors or support within your tribe.” “I had a diverse tribe of people,” she elaborated, “and you can really shoot yourself in the foot, because there are people who are from different places who will support you.” White women hold many positions of power, both participants noted.90

Second, 7 interviewees stressed the importance of professional development. Having the MLIS degree was insufficient in the absence of work experience, P1 maintained. P5 followed the same logic, encouraging aspiring archivists of color to “make the most of any context you're in. Don't just do whatever project you were hired to do . . . get every working opportunity and every professional development opportunity you can.” P15, too, encouraged young archivists to acquire “as much broad experience as possible, working in different places, working in different areas, being involved in different clubs and groups, getting outside of the library and archives as well.”

Third, 5 participants underlined the importance of professional organizations.91 P9 recommended, “Let people you don't work with every day get an idea about your work ethic and your skills, because you're on committees with people, you're on roundtables with people; so get involved and do things . . . try to shake things up . . . when it's time for jobs and it's time for other opportunities to pop up, then you have people outside of your organization who could vouch for you.”

Fourth, 5 participants exhorted young archivists of color to remain open-minded in weighing career opportunities. P3 enthused: “Try everything!” She elaborated, “Look around, find your spot, figure out what makes you comfortable.” Likewise, P4 advised, “Step outside of your comfort zone. If you come into a situation where you had an expectation and it doesn't meet your expectation, don't give up on it.” P9 suggested, “Don't be afraid to go take jobs in places that you've never been to before or heard of before.” In similar spirit, P13 encouraged young archivists of color “to be open to other job opportunities, to grow within the jobs that they do have, and to bring to whatever job that they get just the awareness of diversity, the awareness of cultural materials and the user groups who are using those cultural materials.”

Networking, engaging in professional development, joining professional organizations, experimentation and open-mindedness—participants highlighted the importance of these strategies in enabling archivists of color to develop their intellectual and professional potentials.92 ILS programs can offer targeted professional development and networking opportunities, as can professional organizations. The willingness to experiment with one's career options may be more difficult to encourage, particularly given the influence of personal relationships and both geographical and financial concerns, though the job market itself often determines where archival program graduates work.

Future Research

At least five issues bear further scholarly scrutiny. First, given the rapidity with which the field changes, a longitudinal study of this sample of Pinkett Awardees would be advisable. What mentoring relationships have this study's participants been involved in, and what made them effective or not? Second, how might SAA student chapters promote diversity in their goals and in their membership? Third, insofar as Pinkett Awardees do not represent all archivists of color, a questionnaire soliciting the input of all members of AARC would be useful. Fourth, scholars might explore the perspectives of award-winners of color from archival organizations besides SAA, particularly regional ones. Fifth, are other countries' archival organizations also focusing on diversity? If so, what might American archivists learn from their colleagues' efforts?

Perhaps P4 said it most eloquently: “You can be upset and you can be angry and you can be mad, but. . . . It's not enough to just walk in your shoes and say, ‘I'm an African American and I should have these things.’ It's important to have a seat at the table and say, ‘You know what? Here's my experience.’” She concluded, “I'd say lessons learned as an archivist of color, I think just continue to do the good fight.” This good fight is one in which all archivists have a stake—and a responsibility.


Assistant professor at Drexel University's College of Computing and Informatics, Alex H. Poole received his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Poole's research interests center on archives and records management, digital curation, digital humanities, pedagogy, and diversity and inclusivity. His work has been published in Digital Humanities Quarterly, The American Archivist, Archival Science, and The Journal of Documentation and is forthcoming in Information & Culture: A Journal of History and The Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. He received the Theodore Calvin Pease Award from the Society of American Archivists for “The Strange Career of Jim Crow Archives: Race, Space, and History in the Mid-Twentieth-Century South.” He earned a BA from Williams College (highest honors, history), an MA from Brown University (history), and an MLIS (Beta Phi Mu) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Assistant professor at Drexel University's College of Computing and Informatics, Alex H. Poole received his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Poole's research interests center on archives and records management, digital curation, digital humanities, pedagogy, and diversity and inclusivity. His work has been published in Digital Humanities Quarterly, The American Archivist, Archival Science, and The Journal of Documentation and is forthcoming in Information & Culture: A Journal of History and The Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. He received the Theodore Calvin Pease Award from the Society of American Archivists for “The Strange Career of Jim Crow Archives: Race, Space, and History in the Mid-Twentieth-Century South.” He earned a BA from Williams College (highest honors, history), an MA from Brown University (history), and an MLIS (Beta Phi Mu) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Appendix A

This study is being conducted under Drexel University IRB Protocol 1511004016 and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill IRB Number: 15-0895. Participation is voluntary. You may stop at any time, or decline to answer any question for any reason. May I have your permission to audio record this interview? May I quote you directly in the final article? May I have your consent to participate?

  • Could you please describe your personal and educational background?

  • What led you to pursue professional education and work in archives and records management work?

  • Did you have a mentor who influenced you to pursue archival education or archive work? If so, could you describe that relationship?

  • What types of archival work have you done? What elements of the work did you find most and least satisfying and why?

  • During your education and work, did you have a supervisor or mentor? If so, what influence did that person have on you personally and professionally?

  • When did you join SAA? What factors played into your joining the organization?

  • Did you join any other professional organizations? If so, why?

  • Did you remain a member of or did you leave SAA? What factors contributed to your doing so?

  • If you became a member of any other professional organizations, did you remain a member of them? If so, why?

  • Are you still an archivist or records manager? What factors played into your decision to remain or to leave the profession?

  • What advice would you offer aspiring or early stage professional archivists of color?

  • How have/would you mentor archivists of color?

  • What support structures do you think are most useful or would be most useful to young archivists of color?

  • What can professional societies such as the Society of American Archivists do to recruit and retain archivists of color?

  • Overall thoughts/reflections on being an archivist of color? Challenges faced and lessons learned?

The author gratefully acknowledges the feedback on various versions of this article by Denise E. Agosto, Susan E. Davis, Patricia K. Galloway, Anne J. Gilliland, Nancy Y. McGovern, David A. Wallace, and Mark D. Winston. He would like to express his deepest gratitude to the 21 interviewees.


On the trajectory of diversity in SAA and in the profession over time, see Elizabeth W. Adkins, “Our Journey toward Diversity—and a Call to (More) Action,” The American Archivist 71, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2008): 21–49, and Alex H. Poole, “The Strange Career of Jim Crow Archives: Race, Space, and History in the Mid-Twentieth-Century American South,” The American Archivist 77, no. 2 (Spring/Summer 2014): 23–63.


Harold T. Pinkett, letter to Thomas C. Battle, August 5, 1983. Harold T. Pinkett Papers, Manuscript Division, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University. Daniel Hartwig and Christine Weideman contend, “Minority populations in the United States have long been underrepresented in professions, especially those in which advanced degrees are required.” See “The Family and Community Archives Project: Introducing High School Students to Archives and the Archives Profession,” in Through the Archival Looking Glass: A Reader on Diversity and Inclusion, ed. Mary K. Caldera and Kathryn M. Neal (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2014), 213. The SAA was perhaps even more craven than related professional organizations. The American Library Association, for example, issued a statement on equal treatment of its members as early as 1936. Though relatively toothless, it stipulated, “In all rooms and halls assigned to the American Library Association hereafter for use in connection with its conference or otherwise under its control, all members shall be admitted upon terms of full equality.” But the ALA abdicated all responsibility for local laws and mores; as such, it invariably claimed impotence when its black members experienced and its white members defended discrimination. At last, in 1961 the ALA's Special Committee on Civil Liberties promulgated an addition to the Library Bill of Rights: “The rights of an individual to the use of a library should not be denied or abridged because of his race, religion, national origins or political views.” Of course, should was the operative term. Finally, the ALA Council in 1962 adopted a “Statement on Individual Membership, Chapter Status, and Institutional Membership”: the organization would ask chapters that failed to pledge equal rights to all members within three years to withdraw. On the ALA and diversity, see Toni Samek, Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility in American Librarianship, 1967–1974 (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Company, Inc., 2001) and Wayne A. Wiegand, Part of Our Lives: A People's History of the America Public Library (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).


Harold T. Pinkett, unpublished and undated manuscript, Harold T. Pinkett Papers, Manuscript Divisions, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University.


David Bearman, “1982 Survey of the Archival Profession,” The American Archivist 46, no. 2 (Spring 1983): 233–241.


Adkins, “Our Journey toward Diversity,” 32.


J. Frank Cook, letter to Ann Morgan Campbell, October 20, 1981. Box 2, Folder 8, General Files, Office of the President of the Society, J. Frank Cook, 1982–83, Series No. 200.01.17, Society of American Archivists Records 1935–2014.


Harold T. Pinkett, letter to Ann Morgan Campbell, March 16, 1982, Harold T. Pinkett Papers, Manuscript Division, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University.


Pinkett to Battle.


Pinkett to Battle.


Harold T. Pinkett, letter to Diana Lachatanere, June 25, 1984, Harold T. Pinkett Papers, Manuscript Division, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University; Harold T. Pinkett, letter to Diana Lachatanere, August 2, 1984, Harold T. Pinkett Papers, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University.


Harold T. Pinkett, letter to Diana Lachatanere, June 3, 1987, Harold T. Pinkett Papers, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University.


Diana Lachatanere and Carol Rudisell, “From the Editors,” Minorities Roundtable Newsletter 1, no. 1 (1987): 1.


The award targeted students of African, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American descent, particularly those attending school full time and maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. It included complimentary attendance at the SAA Annual Meeting as well as a cash prize (the latter fluctuated from year to year based on donations from AACR members).


“Whereas, Harold T. Pinkett served with distinction during his long tenure at the National Archives and Records Service; and Whereas Harold T. Pinkett has been a scholar, archival educator, and mentor who has made important contributions to the archives profession; Therefore be it resolved that in recognition of his lifetime achievements and contributions to the archival profession, the Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable supports the renaming of the SAA Minority Student Award to the Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award.” See “Resolution Renaming Minority Student Award,” The American Archivist 66 (Fall 1999): 62.


Kathryn M. Neal, “Diversity Discussions Continue,” Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable Newsletter 11, no. 2 (1997): 7.


Adkins, “Our Journey toward Diversity,” 35.


“Task Force on Diversity Final Report,” Society of American Archivists (February 1999), Emphasis added.


“Society of American Archivists Resolution on Diversity,” Society of American Archivists (August 23, 2002),; Rebecca Hankins, “From Exclusive to Inclusive,” Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable Newsletter 16 (Fall/Winter 2002): 2.


“A*Census Diversity Report,” Society of American Archivists (2005),


“Archivists embrace the importance of identifying, preserving, and working with communities to actively document those whose voices have been overlooked or marginalized. They seek to build connections to under-documented communities to support: acquisition and preservation of sources relating to these communities' activities, encouragement of community members' use of archival research sources, and/or formation of community-based archives. Archivists accept and encourage a diversity of viewpoints on social, political, and intellectual issues, as represented both in archival records and among members of the profession. They actively work to achieve a diversified and representative membership in the profession,” “SAA Core Values Statement and Code of Ethics,” Society of American Archivists (May 2011),


“Member Needs and Satisfaction Survey,” Society of American Archivists (Spring 2012), It should be noted, however, that the survey allowed respondents to choose multiple ethnicities, something the earlier studies did not. As such, we must be cautious in our interpretation.


“Position Statements and Resolutions,” Society of American Archivists,


Dennis Meissner, “Building an Inclusive Profession,” Archival Outlook (March/April 2016): 2.


Mary K. Caldera and Kathryn M. Neal, eds., Through the Archival Looking Glass: A Reader on Diversity and Inclusion (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2014), xiii.


Meissner, “Building an Inclusive Profession,” 2.


Adkins, “Our Journey toward Diversity,” 39.


Rebecca Hankins and Miguel Juarez, Introduction, in Where Are All the Librarians of Color? The Experiences of People of Color in Academia, ed. Rebecca Hankins and Miguel Juarez (Sacramento: Library Juice, 2015), 1; Paul T. Jaeger, Lindsay C. Sarin, and Kaitlin J. Peterson, “Diversity, Inclusion, and Library and Information Science: An Ongoing Imperative (or Why We Still Desperately Need to Have Discussions about Diversity and Inclusion),” Library Quarterly 85, no. 2 (2015): 131.


Paul T. Jaeger and Renee E. Franklin, “The Virtuous Circle: Increasing Faculty Diversity in LIS Faculties to Create More Inclusive Library Services and Outreach,” Education Libraries 30 (Summer 2007): 20.


Paul T. Jaeger, Nicole A. Cooke, Cecilia Feltis, Fiona Jardine, and Katie Shilton, “The Virtuous Circle Revisited: Injecting Diversity, Inclusion, Rights, Justice, and Equity into LIS from Education to Advocacy,” Library Quarterly 85, no. 2 (2015): 166. In the Library with the Lead Pipe hosts many discussions of diversity,


Alice H. Eagly, “When Passionate Advocates Meet Research on Diversity, Does the Honest Broker Stand a Chance?,” Journal of Social Issues 72, no. 1 (2016): 207.


Eagly, “When Passionate Advocates Meet Research on Diversity,” 207.


Eagly, “When Passionate Advocates Meet Research on Diversity,” 207–208.


Teresa Y. Neely, “Minority Student Recruitment in LIS Education: New Profiles for Success,” in Unfinished Business: Race, Equity, and Diversity in Library and Information Science Education, ed. Maurice B. Wheeler (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 2005), 94–97.


Kyung-Sun Kim and Sei-Ching Joanna Sin, “Recruiting and Retaining Students of Color in LIS Programs: Perspectives of Library and Information Professionals,” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 47, no. 2 (2006): 85.


Yet different ethnic groups preferred certain strategies over others. First, African Americans ranked presenting information to high school students sixth and to undergraduates ninth. Second, Native Americans advocated for distance education and generally preferred to stay in the same place (ranked fifth). Third, Hispanics thought having an ILS diversity committee was crucial (ranked ninth). Fourth, both African and Native Americans requested targeted recruitment materials (both ranked seventh). Fifth, both Asians and Hispanics stressed the importance of having a diverse student body (ranked seventh and eighth, respectively).


Neely, “Minority Student Recruitment in LIS Education: New Profiles for Success,” 93; Kim and Sin, “Recruiting and Retaining Students of Color in LIS Programs,” 81–95.


E. J. Josey, “The Challenges of Cultural Diversity in the Recruitment of Faculty and Students from Diverse Backgrounds,” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 34, no. 4 (1993): 307.


Kim and Sin, “Recruiting and Retaining Students of Color in LIS Programs,” 87.


E. J. Josey, “Minority Representation in Library and Information Science Programs,” The Bookmark 48 (Fall, 1989): 55–56; Kim and Sin, “Recruiting and Retaining Students of Color in LIS Programs,” 81–95.


Kim and Sin, “Recruiting and Retaining Students of Color in LIS Programs,” 89.


Debby Carreau, The Mentor Myth: How to Take Control of Your Own Success (Brookline, Mass.: Bibliomotion, 2016), ix; P. Dunkley and Kathleen de la Pena McCook, “In Union There Is Strength: Library and Information Science Educators and Librarians' Associations of Color,” in Unfinished Business: Race, Equity, and Diversity in Library and Information Science Education, ed. Maurice B. Wheeler (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 2005), 63; Julie Todaro, Mentoring from A to Z (Chicago: American Library Association, 2015), 27.


Lisa Campbell, “Early Career Librarians Helping LIS Students and Recent Graduates,” in Mentoring in Librarianship, ed. Carol Smallwood (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2011), 135; Todaro, Mentoring from A to Z, 50.


Carreau, The Mentor Myth, 112; Deborah Hicks, “The Practice of Mentoring,” Australian Library Journal 60, no. 1 (2011): 67; Diane L. Lorenzetti and Susan E. Powelson, “A Scoping Review of Mentoring Programs for Academic Librarians,” Journal of Academic Librarianship 41 (2015): 186; Donna E. McCrea, Elizabeth A. Nielson, and Anne Foster, “The Northwest Archivists Mentoring Program: A Case Study,” The American Archivist 77 (Fall/Winter 2014): 351; Terri A. Scandura, “Dysfunctional Mentoring Relationships and Outcomes,” Journal of Management 24, no. 3 (1998): 464.


Tammy D. Allen, Lillian T. Eby, Mark L. Poteet, Elizabeth Lentz, and Lizzette Lima, “Career Benefits Associated with Mentoring for Protégés: A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Applied Psychology 89, no. 1 (2004): 132; Mandi Goodsett and Andrew Walsh, “Building a Strong Foundation: Mentoring Programs for Novice Tenure-Track Librarians in Academic Libraries,” College and Research Libraries 76 (November 2015): 915, 921, 928; Todaro, Mentoring from A to Z, 17–18, 51; McCrea, Nielson, and Foster, “The Northwest Archivists Mentoring Program,” 351. On the other hand, the consequences of a dysfunctional mentoring relationship can be severe on the mentee's leadership skills, self-esteem, job satisfaction, stress and anxiety, absenteeism, tendency to leave the organization, and willingness to serve as a mentor. See Hicks, “The Practice of Mentoring,” 71.


Marian Hoy, “Relationships, Trust, and Learning: Experience of Emerging Professionals Working in Collecting Institutions,” Archival Science 11 (2011): 402–3.


McCrea, Nielson, and Foster, “The Northwest Archivists Mentoring Program,” 350–76.


McCrea, Nielson, and Foster, “The Northwest Archivists Mentoring Program,” 350–376. This pilot project identified aspects that worked well: 1) enlisting a coordinator as the “face” of program; 2) having a mentoring committee to identify, recruit, and evaluate potential mentees; 3) having a no-fault opt-out proviso for both mentors and mentees; 4) communicating about the program in diverse venues; and 5) incorporating formal evaluations. On the other hand, the study found areas to improve: 1) the need to provide a structured formal orientation for mentors and mentees; and 2) the process of matching mentors and mentees.


Lillian T. Eby, Tammy D. Allen, Sarah C. Evans, Thomas Ng, and David L. DuBois, “Does Mentoring Matter? A Multidisciplinary Meta-Analysis Comparing Mentored and Non-Mentored Individuals,” Journal of Vocational Behavior 72 (2008): 260.


Allen et al. “Career Benefits Associated with Mentoring for Protégés,” 265.


Goodsett and Walsh, “Building a Strong Foundation,” 921. Echoing Goodsett and Walsh, Hicks argues that assigned formal mentoring may bring with it greater chances for a mismatch than informal mentoring. See “The Practice of Mentoring,” 73.


Melody Royster, David Schwieder, Ava Iuliano Brillat, and Lori Driver, “Mentoring and Retention of Minority Librarians,” in Where Are All the Librarians of Color?, 60.


Eileen K. Bosch, Hema Ramachandran, Susan Luevano, and Eileen Wakiji, “The Resource Team Model: An Innovative Mentoring Program for Academic Librarians,” New Review of Academic Librarianship 16, no. 1 (2010): 70; Carreau, The Mentor Myth; Elizabeth M. Doolittle, John-Bauer Graham, Alyssa Martin, Hal Mendelsohn, Kent Snowden, and Amanda Stone, “Creating a Culture of Mentoring at Your Library,” Southeastern Librarian 57, no. 1 (2009): 30–31; Goodsett and Walsh, “Building a Strong Foundation,” 928; Lorenzetti and Powelson, “A Scoping Review of Mentoring Programs for Academic Librarians,” 195; McCrea, Nielson, and Foster, “The Northwest Archivists Mentoring Program,” 350–376; and Todaro, Mentoring from A to Z, 56–57, 110.


See Crystal Goldman, “First-Year Library Mentorship Opportunities,” Urban Library Journal 17, no. 1 (2011): n.p.


Johnny Saldana, Coding Manual for Qualitative Research (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2013), 92. On qualitative research methods, see also H. Russell Bernard and Gery W. Ryan, Analyzing Qualitative Research (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2010) and Alison Pickard, Research Methods in Information (Chicago: Neal-Schumann, 2013).


Case studies “provide lots of descriptive data, are lifelike, and simplify the data that a reader has to assess” (Bernard and Ryan, Analyzing Qualitative Research, 43). Moreover, case studies are useful for description and their results may be leveraged for action decisions. See Robert Yin, Case Study Research: Design and Methods (Los Angeles: Sage, 2009). Qualitative interviewing depends upon understanding experiences and upon reconstructing events. Interviews allow an investigator to integrate multiple perspectives, to discern processes, and to develop holistic descriptions. See Herbert J. Rubin and Irene S. Rubin, Qualitative Interviewing: The Art of Hearing Data (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2005) and Robert Weiss, Learning from Strangers: The Art and Method of Qualitative Interviewing (New York: Free Press, 1994).


The spread of awardees interviewed is as follows: 1994–1999 (4); 2000–2009 (12); and 2010–2015 (5).


Kathy Charmaz, Constructing Grounded Theory (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2014). Grounded Theory researchers reject determinism and build flexibility into their research methods: phenomena invariably change in response to their environmental conditions. Ideal for addressing specific problems or situations, constructivist Grounded Theory focuses on the agency of the researcher and the study participants; it also helps capture the contextual relationships underpinning their interactions. Finally, Constructivist Grounded Theory lends itself to iterative data collection, coding, and analysis with the goal of explication and description.


This sample's areas of concentration broke down as follows: African American and African studies (1); American studies (1); English and American literature (1); global studies (1); Hawaiian studies and language (1); history of science (1); museum studies (1); psychology (1); anthropology (2); political science or studies (2); English (3); and history (6). For example, in their 1970 study of the profession, Frank B. Evans and Robert Warner found that 47.7% of archivists who were college graduates majored in history. See “American Archivists and Their Society,” The American Archivist 30 (1971): 157–172.


Alex H. Poole, “How Has Your Science Data Grown? Digital Curation and the Human Factor, a Critical Literature Review,” Archival Science 15, no. 2 (2015): 101–139.


Lindsay Anderberg, “STEM Undergraduates and Archival Instruction: A Case Study at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering,” The American Archivist 78 (Fall/Winter 2015): 548–566.


Undergraduate mentoring allows the mentor to provide the mentee with an overview of the profession, to give her shadow opportunities and hands-on experience, to assist her in determining potential career paths, to serve as a role model, and to collaborate with other librarians, staff, and campus units to develop a support network. See Wen-Ying Lu, “Mentoring Undergraduate Students: Examples, Steps, and Collaborative Campus Efforts,” in Mentoring in Librarianship, 88–97.


On outreach to high school students, see Keith Phelan Gorman, “Making a Connection: Mentoring High School Students in Special Collections,” in Mentoring in Librarianship, 75–82.


This study's participants' suggestions regarding outreach jibed with those propagated by E. J. Josey more than a quarter-century ago. Outreach efforts might include promotional brochures; visits to high schools and colleges, especially those with large minority enrollments; enlisting minority alumni as informal recruiters; distributing promotional materials through organizations such as the NAACP and Urban League; liaising with minority organizations to promote ILS; collaboration with the ALA Black Caucus, REFORMA, and other groups to develop a national recruitment drive; and informal contact between LIS faculty and African American studies and ethnic studies faculty. See Josey, “Minority Representation in Library and Information Science Programs,” 56–57.


“While library school classrooms are not segregated by policy,” contends Maurice Wheeler, “they have remained so by negligent recruitment and retention practices.” See Foreword, in Unfinished Business, vii.


Kim and Sin, “Recruiting and Retaining Students of Color in LIS Programs,” 89; Jaeger and Franklin, “The Virtuous Circle,” 24.


Historically, many archivists studied history instead of ILS. Moreover, many early black archivists were professionally classified as librarians and thus tended to join ALA as opposed to SAA. LIS programs have hired more archives-focused faculty: at the end of 1970s, there were 3 faculty members in LIS and 4 in history; by 2000, however, LIS programs had 26 and history departments only 10. Archival education came into its own as a field of education and research only in the 1990s. See Kelvin L. White and Anne J. Gilliland, “Promoting Reflexivity and Inclusivity in Archival Education, Research, and Practice,” Library Quarterly 80 (July 2010): 233.


Information on student chapters is available in the SAA Governance Manual, Section XIII, Society of American Archivists,


The AACR newsletter periodically encourages Pinkett Award nominations. See, for example, “The Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award,” Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable Newsletter 14, no. 2 (2000): 4, and Derek T. Mosley, “Senior Co-Chair's Letter,” Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable Newsletter 28, no. 2 (2014): 2.


Suzanne Sears, “Mentoring to Grow Library Leaders,” Journal of Library Administration 54, no. 2 (2014): 132.


“Students and New Archives Professionals (SNAP) Roundtable,” Society of American Archivists, The 2016 Annual Meeting, for example, featured a New Member/First Timer Coffee Break.


Also considering this issue of diversity within diversity, P11 commented, “There is more of a tradition of African American involvement in the profession, and I don't know if that's because of the East Coast population, and the fact that the East Coast has so many archivists.”


Gabrielle Dudley announced, “The roundtable leadership will take a more targeted approach to engaging the membership on issues that matter most to you via Twitter and Facebook.” See “Letter from the Senior Co-Chair,” Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable Newsletter 29, no. 1 (2014): 1.


African Americans may benefit from establishing relationships outside their home departments and with people other than their immediate supervisors. See David A. Thomas, “The Impact of Race on Managers' Experiences of Developmental Relationships (Mentoring and Sponsorship): An Intra-organizational Study,” Journal of Organizational Behavior 11 (1990): 486. Along these lines, there may exist two parallel systems of relationships for African Americans: the culture of the organization and the need for blacks to establish relationships with one another outside departmental and hierarchical boundaries. Finally, Thomas argues that same-race relationships provide more social and emotional support than do cross-race relationships (487–8).


Jodee L. Kawasaki, “Mentoring MLIS Graduate Students,” in Mentoring in Librarianship, 132. Some form of experiential learning has always been pivotal in archival professional entry. Similarly, “‘Learning by doing’ is still considered the best way to become an archivist.” See Jeannette Bastian and Donna Webber, Archival Internships: A Guide for Faculty, Supervisors, and Students (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2008), 1, 5, 56–57.


Bastian and Webber, Archival Internships: A Guide for Faculty, Supervisors, and Students, 79–80. Bastian and Webber issued the following recommendations: internships supplement but do not replace classroom learning; mentors should be working archivists; internships should be designed collaboratively by the faculty sponsor and the host institution; and interns need supervision and evaluation. See Archival Internships, 11.


Morgan R. Davis, “Begin at the Beginning: Mentoring Student Employees in the Archives,” in Mentoring in Librarianship, 69. Conversely, internship programs can encounter obstacles. First, developing internship programs is left largely to the discretion of the internship program. What is more, supervisors rarely receive training or other formal preparation to work with interns. See Bastian and Webber, Archival Internships, 11, 38.


As these responses suggest, job or internship mentors may provide pragmatic assistance as well as emotional support. Possible services include one-on-one consultations about career interests and goals, resume and cover letter review, opportunities for hands-on training, guiding mentees to resources such as listservs or websites, referring mentees to other ILS professionals, and mentoring via email or other media. See Lisa Campbell, “Early Career Librarians Helping LIS Students and Recent Graduates,” in Mentoring in Librarianship, 136–137.


Informal mentoring may incorporate senior-junior, group, situational, or peer mentoring. Such mentoring necessitates neither a concrete time commitment nor fixed goals nor a particular hierarchical relationship. See James, Rayner, and Bruno, “Are You My Mentor?,” 532–537. In this regard, Hoy's sample's mentoring relationships tended toward the protean, viz. both short-term and informal. See “Relationships, Trust, and Learning,” 401. Depending upon the nature of the repository, in fact, organic mentoring relationships may prove stronger than those formally rooted. See Davis, “Begin at the Beginning,” 70. Finally, Diane Zabel teases out an apparent contradiction: sustained professional mentoring programs tended to rely upon a formal structure, but informal mentoring often prevailed. Diane Zabel, “The Mentoring Role of Professional Organizations,” Journal of Business and Finance Librarianship 13, no. 3 (2008): 359.


The informal one-on-one mentoring model encounters a possible barrier: who makes the initial move to meet and begin the process? See Bosch et al., “The Resource Team Model,” 70; James, Rayner, and Bruno, “Are You My Mentor?,” 533; and Hicks, “The Practice of Mentoring,” 73.


Sears reiterated this point with respect to librarians. See “Mentoring to Grow Library Leaders,” 131. Sears recommended workshops or job shadowing in this regard.


For instance, the Association of Canadian Archivists, the SAA, the Australian Society of Archivists, and the International Council on Archives. Hoy, “Relationships, Trust, and Learning,” 397.


Kim and Sin, “Recruiting and Retaining Students of Color in LIS Programs,” 81–95; Todaro, Mentoring from A to Z, 41.


Teresa Mora, “Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable Minutes, Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting, August 3, 2006, Washington, D.C.,” Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable Newsletter 21, no. 1 (2007): 2; “Meet and Greet Activities,” Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable Newsletter 29, no. 3 (2015): 13.


Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty, “Letter from the Senior Co-Chair,” Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable Newsletter 25, no. 2 (2011): 3.


Whereas the SAA charges $52 for students, but then at least $105 for full-time working professionals, Delaware Valley Archivists Group (DVAG) is $12, Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) is $20 (students) or $45 (all others), (Midwest Archives Conference (MAC) is $45, and New England Archivists is $17.50 (student) or $35 (all others). Finally (thanks to Pat Galloway for this point), archivists might explore joining the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA) ($50 for students and $75 for all others) or the Council of State Archivists (CoSA).


“SAA has a long way to go in order to successfully support diversity—especially in comparison to other information professional awards like the ALA's Spectrum Scholars program.” Teresa Mora and Rose Roberto, “Greetings from the Co-Chairs,” Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable Newsletter 18, no. 2 (2004): 1.


Archival professions might profit from E. J. Josey's proposed strategies regarding funding: 1) earmark funding for a comprehensive recruitment program; 2) schedule graduate school career day events, especially at HBCUs; 3) lobby for legislative and policy initiatives; 4) solicit funds from foundations and corporations; 5) ensure adequate stipends for those with family or other financial responsibilities; 6) ask alumni to contribute funds; 7) establish a minority weekend on campuses. See “Minority Representation in Library and Information Science Programs,” 56.


Dunkley and McCook, “In Union There Is Strength,” 63; Karen Jefferson, “Blazing a Path to the White House,” Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable Newsletter 27, no. 1 (2012): 4.


It is worth noting, however, that “Building a network is not an intuitive skill for most people. It is also an iterative process; you are never finished, and the way you develop your network will change as you grow your own career.” See Carreau, The Mentor Myth,” 105. Indeed, “The mistake most people—especially young people—make is that they get themselves stuck in the wide-net-casting approach to networking,” e.g., connect with many random people on LinkedIn (106).


Support for minority students must come from white as well as minority faculty. See Josey, “The Challenges of Cultural Diversity in the Recruitment of Faculty and Students from Diverse Backgrounds,” 308.


Dunkley and McCook, “In Union There Is Strength,” 63; Josey “The Challenges of Cultural Diversity in the Recruitment of Faculty and Students from Diverse Backgrounds,” 308.


Rabia Gibbs offers the following advice: 1) be patient; 2) entertain offers regarding residencies or temporary or contract positions; 3) get experience; 4) be mobile; 5) publish and present. Rabia Gibbs “On the Job Market? Five Helpful Tips to Get You through the Horror,” Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable Newsletter 25, no. 1 (2010): 4–6.