21st Century Community Outreach and Collection Development: ASU Chicano/a Research Collection

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Mexicans and Mexican Americans have resided in Arizona since the early 16th century. Their history, however, is severely under-documented in the state’s archival repositories. As of 2012, this community is

Mexicans and Mexican Americans have resided in Arizona since the early 16th century. Their history, however, is severely under-documented in the state’s archival repositories. As of 2012, this community is represented in a mere 1-2% of the state’s known archival holdings, and 98% of such documentation is held at Arizona State University’s Chicano/a Research Collection (CRC). This article provides a historical review of the CRC’s establishment in 1970 and how its founding Curator, Dr. Christine Marín, transformed a small circulating book collection into Arizona’s largest repository for Mexican American history. It goes on to examine how the CRC’s sitting Archivist is using social media in tandem with a community-based workshop, bilingual promotional materials and finding aids, and description of unprocessed collections as community outreach and collection development tools in order to remedy the under-documentation of Mexican American history in Arizona. We argue that augmenting traditional archival field collecting methods with these strategies enables the CRC to build a more robust relationship with Arizona’s Mexican American community, allows us to continue expanding our archival holdings, and serves as an example for other repositories seeking to enhance their documentation of marginalized communities.