IMLS Grant Team invites participation in “Destination Preservation” survey

A contributor shares a photo with a volunteer to complete a form at a Road Show.

A contributor shows his photograph to a volunteer at the “Show ‘Em Whatcha Got Mass. Memories Road Show: The Hip-Hop Edition.”

In 2018 University Archives & Special Collections (UASC) in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston launched a two-year project, “Destination Preservation,” thanks to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The goal is to build an accessible, adaptable, and engaging “roadmap” to guide libraries of all kinds and sizes through the process of collecting and preserving materials in partnership with their community members. 

The project is inspired by the Mass. Memories Road Show’s (MMRS) success in documenting the history of the Commonwealth through personal photographs and stories. Directed by the MMRS team, the project also draws on the expertise of other leaders in the participatory archiving field throughout the United States. 

The project’s Core Team includes representatives from:

  • Boston Public Library; 
  • Digital Commonwealth;
  • Maine Historical Society;
  • Massachusetts Archives;
  • Metropolitan New York Library Council;
  • Newark Public Library;
  • San Jose State University; and
  • University of Massachusetts Boston.

In the first phase of the project, the goal is to identify the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of libraries and other cultural organizations already doing participatory archiving events and those that are exploring the idea. 

Libraries are the intended audience for the roadmap, and the team seeks input from libraries in all regions of the country, from small, rural areas to large, urban ones and everything in between. However, a successful project promises to benefit an array of cultural heritage and community organizations. Therefore, the team seeks input from staff and volunteers representing a wide range of institutions committed to documenting shared cultural heritage, including archives, historical societies, museums, and cultural centers. To gather this information, the team invites librarians, archivists, museum professionals, historians, and others involved in cultural heritage work to share their perspectives through a survey.

The survey has between 31 and 75 questions (depending on your role and organization type) and requires about 35 minutes to complete. 

The results of this survey will inform the development of a suite of resources empowering libraries to plan participatory archiving programs with the communities they serve, preserve the resulting digital collections, and make those collections accessible to the public.

Follow the link to the survey here. Please share the survey with your networks and any stakeholders you believe may benefit from the eventual roadmap. 

If you have questions about the survey, would like to review materials as they are developed, or if you would like to receive a copy of the final results, please contact Sarah Collins (

About the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston

UMass Boston logoThe Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston plays a leading role in the dynamic culture of teaching and learning at Boston’s only public research university, while also supporting the campus’ commitment to urban and community engagement. University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) in the Healey Library collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service. UASC is committed to working with, promoting, and assisting community archives in the Greater Boston area and beyond through facilitating cross-organization collaboration and access to informational, educational, and practical resources relevant to archival procedures and best practices. Check in with Healey Library’s news and collections through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Logo for the Institute of Museum and Library ServicesThe Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. They advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Their vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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