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Making Space for Archival Anxieties: Developing a Graduate Student Archival Research Community at UC Santa Cruz

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The Elisabeth Remak-Honnef Center for Archival Research and Training (CART) at UC Santa Cruz supports the professional development and research success of graduate students by providing training in archival processing techniques in its paid fellowship program. One beneficial outcome of this fellowship that is frequently expressed by graduate students is their increased familiarity working with archival materials as a researcher, in addition to the practical experience working in an academic library.

Over the last year, we have expanded CART beyond the competitive fellowship into a new community called CART Commons, which is broadly geared towards all graduate students who are embarking on or already immersed in archival research. The community exists to provide space for students to engage with one another and with archivists and librarians in considering questions related to primary source research practices.

We encourage graduate students to share not only their research successes and tips, but also their questions, challenges, and anxieties about the realities of archival research. In both CART Commons and in the fellowship, students are encouraged to bring their whole selves, and we as staff facilitators strive to create a place of authenticity, care, and understanding of the busy life of a graduate student.

This poster session at the 2020 CARL Conference explores the successes and challenges of building a program like CART Commons, including questioning whether our plans and practices in the community are evolving to truly meet the needs of graduate students in our library. It will provide suggestions for beginning a similar community on other campuses, both for graduate and undergraduate students.

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