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USC Libraries awarded grant for residency program

The program will support L.A. as Subject research alliance

by Hugh McHarg
Workers wash oranges from Puente Hills orange groves in 1925. (Photo/courtesy of California Historical Society Collection/USC Libraries)
Workers wash oranges from Puente Hills orange groves in 1925. (Photo/courtesy of California Historical Society Collection/USC Libraries)

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

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

Throughout the term of the grant, the Autry, CSUN and USC each will host and mentor two residents, who in turn will work with community-based archives among the L.A. as Subject membership.

The residents will help the smaller organizations and individual collectors apply archival standards and practices to make certain their collections become and remain accessible to students, scholars and the global community of researchers studying the history and meaning of Los Angeles.

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

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

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

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