A prevalent theme in archives is social justice. Within archives and library sciences, social justice is very important to our world and how we function. As stated by Michelle Caswell, “The work of archives is the work of social justice and can take many different forms” (Cole, H., & Griffith, Z). I think the really interesting factor that no one takes notice of, is how important documents can be, as well as how powerful they can perform. Claims regarding human rights can be used in resourceful ways such as human rights, land disputes, legal conflicts, or lack of representation (Cole, H., & Griffith, Z). Archives and social justice becomes an important theme to many people, especially libraries because it demonstrates the representation of social justice ethics (Cole, H., & Griffith, Z.). Representation becomes an important part of social justice and archives because we need archivists to care about the marginalized people, LGBTQ communities, and people of color who need representation (Cole, H., & Griffith, Z.). But the most important point to take away from this, is we need archivists, as Michelle Caswell stated in her interview, “it’s important to use the same language that communities use to describe themselves” (Punzalan, Ricardo L., and Michelle Caswell 24 ). Understanding and documenting the language of the specific area becomes an important factor in comprehending where documents originate from. 

Why is it important? 

Archives are an important part of libraries around the world because the representation of other cultures, communities, and people needs to be shown. Sometimes, libraries lack the representation of ‘empowerment and growth for marginalized communities, and by creating a space more welcoming and inclusive for people other than whites, communities could be more active (Brook, Freeda, Dave Ellenwood, and Althea Eannace Lazzaro).


  • Society of American Archivists book, “Describing Archives: A Content Standard”(Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2019), Page vii-xvii.

  • Punzalan, Ricardo L., and Michelle Caswell. “Critical Directions for Archival Approaches to Social Justice.” Library Quarterly 86, no. 1 (January 2016): 25–42. https://doi.org/10.1086/684145.

  • Brook, Freeda, Dave Ellenwood, and Althea Eannace Lazzaro. “In Pursuit of Antiracist Social Justice: Denaturalizing Whiteness in the Academic Library.” Library Trends 64, no. 2 (Fall 2015): 246–84. https://doi.org/10.1353/lib.2015.0048.

  • Cole, H., & Griffith, Z. (2018). Images, Silences, and the Archival Record: An Interview with Michelle Caswell. DisClosure, 27, 21–27. https://doi-org.ezp.scranton.edu/10.13023/disclosure.27.04

  • “Find Archival Collections.” TU Libraries. Tulane University. Accessed May 22, 2021. https://library.tulane.edu/places/find-archival-collections