Preserving Memory: Unearthing the Library’s Value

Sponsored by University of Toronto Press

Recorded on 07/27/2020
Posted in The Authority File

Episode 144

When we look back on this year, 10, 20, or 50 years down the line, what will we remember? What will become the official narrative of 2020? What will slip between the cracks of our collective memory? (Murder hornets, hopefully.)

In Toni Samek’s co-edited volume Minds Alive: Libraries and Archives Now, contributors discuss the state’s control over access to archival materials, and how vital archives and all cultural memory institutions are in preserving history. During the current pandemic, in a time when anxiety and instant information breed conspiracy theories or dangerous falsehoods, Dr. Samek concludes that these institutions need to be able to collect and preserve these stories to dissect and understand them later.

In this final episode, Dr. Samek explains the institutional collaborations that can develop between librarians, archivists, and curators in order to strengthen each branch for the betterment of society—whether during a global pandemic or not. “We have to think about institutions that share a space on the cultural and informational network and make sure that they’re working in solidarity even though the work that they do may be a little a bit different … At the same time, we work with records and we are in a sense memory institutions.”


About the guest:

Toni Samek
Professor, School of Library and Information Studies
University of Alberta