The ArQuives has a wide variety of materials in our collections and volunteers play a huge role in helping maintain them and making them accessible for the public. Our collections range from small buttons to oversize posters, and small press books to a variety of paper files, as well as numerous types of artifacts. Volunteers work hard to ensure all donated materials are accurately input into our database system, which requires different steps depending on the material. For individually donated items such as one book or button, volunteers use the database to assign an accession number to it and information about the item is input in association with the accession number. For a collection of materials donated by a person or organization, volunteers spend long periods processing the records to archival standards, to identify, arrange, and describe the materials. Volunteers have to follow all steps diligently to ensure the materials are recorded and stored correctly, to allow for easy access in the future by researchers and other users. Here are a few of the new Collections volunteers who recently joined our team:
Karen is a second-year student in the Masters of Information program at University of Toronto, and also works as Electronics Resource Intern at the University of Toronto Libraries Collection Development Department. She became interested in volunteering after taking a course on queer and trans oral histories and taking a tour at The ArQuives.
“I really enjoy getting hands-on experience working with archival materials to make them more accessible to researchers, visitors, and online users. Knowing that my work connects people to the collections at The ArQuives is truly inspiring.”
Elizabeth Kurz Michel
Elizabeth is a student and UofT’s iSchool and server in Yorkville who has both worked and volunteered at a number of LGBTQIA+ focused offices and centres over the past 5 years. They are originally from Rochester, NY and attained a bachelors in History in western Massachusetts. They want to at some point help make underprivileged and minority voices in history more accessible so the mainstream understanding of the past can represent the full amount of people in society.
“I started volunteering at The ArQuives to feel more of a connection to the LGBT community in Toronto, and to feel more capable in my academic program.”
Gabrielle is a graduate of Trent University with a BA in History, and of Seneca College with a diploma in Library and Information Technology. Currently she is working as a cataloguing and metadata technician with the provincial legislature. A lifelong love of libraries, archives and museums has led Gabrielle to form a passion for organizing and preserving the often hidden stories of marginalized communities so that future generations can know the struggles and joys of their elders. Aside from collections volunteering at The ArQuives, Gabrielle also enjoys cycling, reading science fiction, and playing roller derby!
“It is my pleasure and honour to participate in, and to give back to the queer community by volunteering with The ArQuives! By bringing light to our stories we can hold back the darkness of ignorance and intolerance.”