“I think one of the biggest challenges of archives is convincing people the archives are for them, not just researchers or scholars. Here we are, on the third floor of an imposing building on the campus of the University, so it’s hard to find us in the first place, and then we have very special procedures.
So our goal is to try to tell people this is for them, and we do that in a variety of ways. We have events where we invite people in to see our materials. We have speakers – sometimes they’re scholarly, sometimes not. We’ve had open houses for various communities. We also try to go out to people. That’s a little harder, just because we don’t have a big staff, but we do go out and give presentations to women’s clubs or at libraries or to groups like the Rotary or the Kiwanis. That is how we can say, ‘This is your resource. This is supposed to be a resource for the whole state of Iowa. We want you to come in and use it, we welcome you in. You don’t have to be doing a research project, you can come in to browse.’”
Kären Mason, Curator, Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa Libraries