Exploring the Nuance of Community-Driven Archives: A Conversation with Archives Practitioners Jimmy Zavala and Nancy Godoy

This University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University Libraries virtual public event highlighted community-driven archives projects that our guests, Nancy Godoy and Jimmy Zavala, have led, featuring inspirations, successes, and challenges.

What happens when large research university libraries engage in community outreach around archives and community memory? What should other university libraries know before embarking on community-driven archives projects? What should communities be aware of when they are approached to participate in these types of partnerships? Is it possible to generate and sustain more dynamic relationships and collections with this approach?

This event was part of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Community-Driven Archives project and its Archival Seedlings program, which supports marginalized history keepers in the telling, sharing and preserving of their stories.

Nancy Liliana Godoy is interim head of archives at Arizona State University Library and associate archivist of the Chicano/a Research Collection. In 2017, she was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant ($450,000) to establish a community-driven archives initiative to preserve the history of historically marginalized communities in Arizona. Godoy is the recipient of the Arizona Humanities Rising Star Award (2017), ASU Catalyst Award (2019), Arizona Library Association’s Outreach Services Award (2019) and was named a 2020 Library Journal Mover and Shaker.

Jimmy Zavala is teaching and learning librarian at the University of California, Los Angeles, Library Special Collections. Prior to joining UCLA, he was project coordinator librarian for Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries, a three-year Institute of Museum and Library Services-funded research project analyzing the intersection of ethnic studies and community archives. Zavala received his MLIS from UCLA and holds a B.A. in Latin American studies and an M.A. in history from California State University, Los Angeles.

Chaitra Powell, facilitator for this talk, is African American Collections and Outreach Archivist and Project Director of the Community-Driven Archives grant project at Carolina’s University Libraries.