Hi everyone! I’m Monica, and I’m one of the volunteers here at LLACE. I’m currently a graduate student working on my MLIS (Masters in Library Information Science) degree, so my world is mostly library work. I am currently taking an Archives and Manuscripts class, so when an opportunity came up at LLACE to create finding aids and accession are collection, I enthusiastically asked if I could be an intern.
Putting the “A” in Archives
We are putting the “A” in archives here at LLACE. Many of our older LGBTQ community members have graciously donated their items to us; sometimes these items are personal papers, and sometimes these items are from local Sacramento events. We house these collections in storage nearby, which we are currently accessioning (a fancy word archival word for organizing) and creating finding aids for. A finding aid for archivists and historians is extremely important; this document allows people who want to do research to look at this aid so they have an idea of what we house in our archives.
As an archival intern, I’m here twice a week to accession, process, and create a finding aid for a few collections. I’m very ambitious, and plan on working on up to three collections: Sacramento Valley Vets, Open Book, and Outdoor Adventures of Sacramento. I genuinely enjoy learning social history—there is so much to learn from our past, and as a queer person, I recognize that us LGBTQIA+ folx don’t see ourselves in history. LLACE matters because we don’t just house materials for public use, we house materials that document queer history. LLACE is the home of queer narratives and stories so folx can see themselves represented in history through our archival project. As being a part of the Sacramento community for over twenty years, if the walls here could talk they would have so much to say about the fabulous culture here in Northern California.
You might hear, “In order to understand the present, you must first understand the past,” or “In order to prevent mistakes now, you must learn from the past.” As someone who is handing archives, this is an opportunity to see firsthand the documents that helped shape the narrative today. These are letters, posters, newsletters, documents that shaped the gay Sacramento community. Sometimes, these documents show a world where queer community was creating change; sometimes they show the challenges they faced at the time. From the looks of some of the photos and fliers, these folx knew how to have a fun time, too. [Read: so many drag events and skinny-dipping!] As I’m looking through items, I look for signs of intersectionality and points of pivotal change; the type of change that you look back on and go, “Wow, that really happened, our lives are so different because of this.”
So if you’re at LLACE and see someone at a table, with a box and a giant stack of papers and laptop, that’s me. I’m most likely deep in my process, but a gentle “Hello! Are you Monica?” is welcome. I could probably use a break at that point.
Souvenir sing-a-long from the June 25, 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day