To preserve and document Rochester’s Black history and culture, the Rochester Public Library is looking for help from the community.
The library seeks 10 community members to serve on an advisory board to develop an archive as part of the Documenting, Preserving & Improving Access to Local Black History Collections Project.
“We are committed to implementing the bold ideas brought forth by the City/County Commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE),” says Rochester Mayor Malik Evans. “In order to be truly successful, we need the participation of citizens who are vested in creating greater equity in our community. This is a wonderful opportunity to serve our city through this exciting project.”
The goal of the project is to establish a community-curated archive of historical information about the Black community in Rochester that will culminate in an online database, officials say.
Board members will set the mission and vision for the archive and act as liaisons between the library and community stakeholders.
In the first year, the board will identify and connect with community members, urging them to participate in efforts to find and preserve historically significant collections they might hold. The board will also select themes, organizations and people significant to the area’s past and present Black history and culture.
Surveys and focus group meetings are also planned to better understand community needs and wishes. This group, which will work under the public library staff’s direction, is tasked with developing a project/collection mission statement, vision, strategic plan, and collection policy for the new archive.
Applications to serve on the board can be found here. Ideal candidates include those who play an active role in the community and have an interest in documenting and sharing Black history.