Black Lives Matter

As members of the Three Rivers Archivists Steering Committee, we strongly believe that Black Lives Matter and condemn the state-sanctioned police violence rampant in our society. The Steering Committee for TRA is a group of White and White-Passing archivists who strive towards social responsibility, justice, and anti-racism in our work and personal lives. We acknowledge the power structures at play within our profession and the Whiteness of the archives field. As Pittsburgh archivists, we are committed to doing the work to center and uplift the Black voices in our collections and workplaces and to support the work of Black archivists and memory workers. We take responsibility for creating an inclusive and anti-racist environment for our events, community listservs, and other activities. We invite our membership and other interested librarians and archivists to join us in this endeavor.

We acknowledge the Black archivists and librarians in our communities and those that have come before us including E.J. Josey, Virginia Proctor Powell Florence, Bekezalia Mguni, Dominique Luster, Samuel Black and others whose work influences our thinking.

We’re committed to taking action to dismantle the racist systems that function within our daily lives: our workplaces, our homes, and our schools. We’re excited to support each other–from those new to anti-racist work to organizers and activists who have long been engaged.

As part of this process, we would like to share some of what we have been reading and discussing over the past months. We’ll be updating this list regularly, so please feel free to email us at to share any resources that you’ve found helpful. 


SAA’s Community Reflections on Black Lives and Archives Zoom forum was held in June and is now available to watch online. Speakers Zakiya Collier (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library), Dorothy Berry (Houghton Library, Harvard University), Courtney Chartier (Rose Library, Emory University and incoming SAA vice president), and Erin Lawrimore (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) shared their thoughts on civil rights, activism, and the development of anti-racist goals within the archives field:

During the meeting, Dorothy Berry encouraged attendees to refer to Black archivists’ research and publications in this moment. This “Black Excellence LIS Syllabus” collaborative GoogleDoc created by Twitter user @tttkay is a great resource:

SAA Council Statement on Black Lives and Archives:

Archivists Roundtable of Metropolitan New York statement and resources: 

LA Archivists Collective statement:

Archives for Black Lives Community Archives initiative:

The Blackivists’ Five Tips for Organizers, Protestors, and Anyone Documenting Movements (June 2, 2020): 

When Not to Call the Cops: A plea to protect Black patrons by Jarrett Dapier and Emily Knox (July 8, 2020) American Libraries Journal:

Libraries Respond: Black Lives Matter. American Library Association (ALA) – Includes plans for everyday actions, centering and supporting black voices in LIS, staff development, library programming, and evaluating policies:



TRA Virtual Open House

These are frustrating, uncertain times. Efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus have temporarily closed archives all over our region. And yet historic documentation is being created hourly, giving our community an opportunity to prove its vital role to society.

Three Rivers Archivists is hosting a digital open house on Thursday, May 14th and we hope you’ll join us! This will be a chance for us to connect with our local colleagues in the archival profession, share tips for working and learning from home, and share our favorite “holdings” from our personal library and archives.

Register for the TRA open house here (a link and password will be sent to attendees before the event)


[Photograph by Herb Ferguson. Color slide of the original computer lab located in the basement of Smith Hall, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, October 1984. Online at]

Community Archiving Workshop 2019

On October 5, 2019, the Three Rivers Archivists conducted their third annual community archiving consultation workshop at the Historic Pittsburgh Fair at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Main branch in Oakland. During the two-hour event, workshop participants met with TRA members and received personalized consultation advice. Participants brought a variety of materials including photo albums, newspaper clippings, digitized World War II letters, scrapbooks, and more over the course of the consultations. After TRA volunteers offered their professional advice for the preservation, conservation, and digitization of the materials, participants were able to utilize the resources in CLP’s DIY digitization lab, the REcollection Studio.

TRA members consulted with six people at four individual appointments and talked with several walk-ins. According to TRA steering committee member Megan Massanelli, “All scheduled participants reported feeling more empowered to organize their materials and of having a better understanding of how to make sure they and their families have access to their memories in the future.”


2nd Annual “Preservation, Archiving, and Digitization Advice” Workshop – 2018

On November 3rd 2018, Three Rivers Archivists (TRA) conducted its second annual “Preservation, Archiving, and Digitization Advice” workshop in collaboration with REcollection Studio (the DIY digitization lab at CLP)! The workshop took place at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh- Oakland Branch as an event during Historic Pittsburgh Day- a celebration of the collaborative website of the same name that features digital objects relating to the history of Western Pennsylvania.  Each workshop participant met with TRA volunteers for an in-depth consultation on their archives and rare book materials as well as with REcollection Studio volunteers for an overview of their resources and to begin their digitization project. This year, we met with 5 scheduled attendees and talked with 5-6 more walk-ins over the course of three hours! We also had take-aways, including sample collection inventories, preservation tips & contacts of supply vendors, and buttons!

For any questions, concerns, ideas about the Preservation, Archiving, and Digitization Advice workshop, please contact Megan Massanelli at


TRA Spring Meet-Up

During the first Three Rivers Archivists meet-up of 2018, attendees gathered at the University of Pittsburgh’s Archives and Special Collections reading room on the 3rd floor of Hillman Library to share experiences from the Spring 2018 MARAC meeting, catch-up with one another, and discuss what the future holds for TRA.

Members discussed highlights from the MARAC meeting, which included panels on preserving Pennsylvania’s disability history, rights statements, working with living donors, pop-up exhibits, and collaborating with Native American researchers across the Smithsonian. Pronoun ribbons were lauded as a positive addition for conference-goers, as well as several sessions with interactive elements rather than traditional panel discussions. Details about two sessions in particular were shared: Documenting Communities and Movements in Real Time panel, which covered a wide range of tools archivists are employing to capture social justice movements as they unfold on social media, and Chester Made: Building The Biography of a Block with Artists, Students and Residents panel, an exciting collaborative approach to uncover and document the life and culture of Chester, PA.


Prior to an interesting show-and-tell of Special Collections materials, the group discussed identifying a more formalized steering committee structure to ensure organizational continuity, potential summer and fall programs, and broader TRA projects such as offering consultative record guidance to Pittsburgh-area organizations that may be closing, or outreach to neighborhood communities to support documentary practices.

TRA Opportunities in 2018

2018 is well underway, and with it, plenty of opportunities for the Three Rivers Archivists to build on last year’s success! While new event and programming ideas are percolating, members and supporters are encouraged to use the TRA platform for professional and personal development amongst themselves.

Interested in hosting an open house? Have a great idea for a workshop? Read an article you’re dying to discuss? Writers block preventing a successful grant submission? Plain’ole winter cabin fever? Use the TRA listserv ( to start a discussion, bounce an idea around, or ask a question. Submit event or program ideas to and we’ll help coordinate!

Interested in participating but not quite sure how? Last February TRA hosted a Museum Mixer where members socialized and generated an “idea board” of potential TRA initiatives and ideas. Together we can use these ideas as a springboard for a fun and engaged 2018!

  • Sharing resource and expertise on A/V stuff
  • #amplify: Regional contact list by collection scope and collections
  • Directory of TRA members and specializations if applicable
  • Reading and writing groups, both in person and virtual (Skype, Google Hangouts, Slack). Volunteer topics and organize between members, not specially by “TRA”
  • Tweet-ups, a la SAA, with other regional archivist cohorts as well as local groups
  • Collaborative writing initiatives with potential to submit to MARAC, SAA, etc… for publication
  • Grant writing discussions and meetups. Workshops to share tips and review drafts. Partnerships with programs like the CLP non-profit writing center.
  • Pooling funds and resources to facilitate workshops, training, seminars, speakers, and space.
  • DAS course – who wants what, and when?
  • Informal sharing of projects and initiatives via lightening presentations or similar methods as a way to present and make visible ongoing projects.
  • Archives “fair”
  • Making TRA a platform/venue for students and new professionals
  • Parties! to celebrate major projects (website announcements, happy hour announcements)
  • Bring certified Archives exam to PGH
  • Conference sharing: providing recaps of interesting experiences, sessions, exchanges for the benefit of the Pittsburgh community. MARAC, SAA, RRMS, DLF, MCN, etc…
  • Website calendar of events (members are encourage to send contributions to the email)
  • Wikipedia edit-a-thon focused on PGH content using area finding aids with educational component involved i.e. how to wiki.
  • Lingo: exploring a common vocab, or, understanding different vernacular used in our repositories and projects.
  • Informal sub-committees: Lone arrangers, Arts, Business, etc…
  • Student mentorship
  • Prizes! New people!
  • Clear communication channels
  • Public Archives show & tell for archives month to raise awareness and $$ for other events
  • Accessibility / forum for professionals, part timers, volunteers, student workers, between jobbers, information professionals, etc…
  • Participate in ischool resume sessions specifically for MLIS students
  • External outreach for PGH archives and records stories, i.e. Records managers, legal records, business records, etc…

TRA Open House @ Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden Archives

Join the Three Rivers Archivists on Thursday, August 17 to tour the Archives of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden. Since 1869, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden have been a part of the history of Western Pennsylvania and beyond. Come and learn about what this special collection archives is all about and how the contributions of nuns are often a forgotten piece of the study of women’s history. The St. Joseph Convent sits on a 94-acre campus, complete with community gardens, an apiary, chickens, and a cemetery.

Register for the event here.

Directions: are available from this website:

Parking: Use the entrance that is marked Sisters of St. Joseph/Mt. Gallitzin/Baden Academy Charter School and use the Visitor Parking Lot there – first entrance on the right if you are following the directions on the website. (Note: Please be aware that there are two other entrances to the property. Those entrances are for the Villa St. Joseph, which is a 120-bed nursing facility/rehab center.)

We will meet in the Vistor Parking Lot at 6:00pm – the program will start outside and end inside.

Interested in carpooling? Check out this carpooling sign-up sheet, or email

If there is rain, stay tuned for an update in the days leading up to the event!

Pittsburgh Archivists in the News

Several local archivists (and TRA members!) recently made local and national headlines, showcasing our region’s archival strength and highlighting a number of interesting projects. Follow the links to read more about University of Pittsburgh University Archivist Zach Brodt, Carnegie Museum of Art Teenie Harris Archivist Dominique Luster, and City of Pittsburgh City Archivist Nick Hartley.

Pitt Past Has a Future in Archivist’s Hands

Zach Brodt in the University Archive Center, Wilkinsburg, June 6, 2017. 1515

Adding Luster to the Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive


Wayward Record of Pittsburgh’s Early Years Recovered by Archivist


Save the Date: TRA Open House @ the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland

Save the date for the next Three Rivers Archivists Open House on Thursday, June 1 at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland. Come and learn about the Library’s historical collections, conservation and preservation efforts, highlighted special collections, and the new digitization lab.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main (Oakland), 3rd floor conference room, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM.

Please register for free today!

Space will be limited to the first 45 registrants.


A six-level parking facility is located directly next to the library and can be accessed from the intersection of Forbes Ave. & Craig St. Parking rates are by the hour; metered parking is also available on the street around the library.

TRA Open House is an ongoing series meant to encourage conversation, collaboration, and friendship among archivists, archives professionals, and archives students in the Pittsburgh region.

Just Announced! TRA Open House @ CMU’s Hunt Library

Three Rivers Archivists continues its exploration of regional repositories in 2017 with a Open House at Carnegie Mellon University’s Hunt Library on Tuesday, April 18 from 5:30PM to 7:30PM. Go behind the scenes at the University Archives, the Architecture Archives, and the Fine and Rare Book Room, hear from the archivist for the Hunt Institute for Botanical Research, and learn about the library’s long-standing digitization program.

Register for free today!

TRA Open House is an ongoing series meant to encourage conversation, collaboration, and friendship among archivists, archives professionals, and archives students in the Pittsburgh region.