We Are All Teachers: A Collaborative Approach to Digital Collection Development

Melanie Shell-Weiss, Grand Valley State University
Annie Benefiel, Grand Valley State University
Kimberly McKee, Grand Valley State University


In libraries and archives, efforts to document underrepresented communities and diversify collections can be fraught with political tension. We explore an interdepartmental collaboration to create and preserve a digital collection documenting the Urban Native Relocation Program of the mid- to late-twentieth century in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Involving the Grand Valley State University Libraries, the Kutsche Office of Local History, and the university’s Native American Advisory Board, the project serves as a model not just for collaborative collection development but also for community engagement and outreach. We find that process is as important as product in developing collaborative digital collections.