What is the value of archival labor, and what are its implications for diversity, inclusion, equity, and sustainability? How does invisible labor work against these central tenets of the field?
How do we take meaningful action?
The past decade has witnessed vast changes in the archival landscape, with the rise of digital labor, the mobilization of previously hidden collections through digitization grants and increasingly sophisticated collections platforms. Yet with these advancements and increasing specialization within the field has come an undertow of inequitable workplace practices in the form of contingent and unpaid labor, persistent and gendered wage disparities, and general precarity. Digital labor, lauded for its innovations, is often simultaneously invisible and all encompassing in scope.
These issues have been taken up by professional associations, such as the DLF Labor Working Group and ARLIS/NA Critical Librarianship special interest group, and have even gained attention through open letters advocating for reform. The increasing visibility of these issues has also captured the attention of grant-funding organizations such as the IMLS, which recently funded a two-year study on the effects of contingent labor.
The Archivists Round Table (ART) and the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) invite you to participate in a community round table on the landscape of archival labor in NewYork City. The intent of this informal discussion is to identify issues that are currently impacting our membership and to collectively brainstorm about how ART can support its members in effecting positive change. The responses shared during this round table, in concert with current work in the field, will shape ART’s forthcoming programming to promote visibility and dialogue around these shared concerns.
Please note that space is limited for this event. Advance registration is recommended. Light refreshments and wine will be served.
Image: Librarians working with catalog cards in the Processing Department of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Courtesy Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Photo: Harris & Ewing