SJSU MLIS Student Receives Award from Society of American Archivists

Angela Osbourne, a master’s in Library and Information Science student, received the Harold T. Pinkett Student of Color Award from the Society of American Archivists.

Angela Osbourne said she grew up without access to a lot of books. She had access to a Bible, and it helped her learn to read and speak well. Now the master’s of Library and Information Science student in the College of Professional and Global Education is helping community members access archives in Sacramento.

“As a child I had a dream one night of collecting books and allowing anyone to come and borrow them or keep them if they would like,” she said. “And if they wanted, they could come back and add books of their own.”

Osbourne said she rushed to tell her mother the idea she had dreamed up.

“She told me it had already been invented and it was called a library,” Osbourne said. “I was excited, feeling like I knew what I was going to do with my life.”

Osbourne recently received the 2019 Harold T. Pinkett Student of Color Award at the Society of American Archivists (SAA) conference in Austin, Texas, July 31 to Aug. 6. She said she was welcomed by the Association of Research Libraries/SAA Leadership Forum coordinators and panelists as well as the Archivists and Archives of Color Section. The award included conference and travel fees, and one-year membership in SAA.

“I was blessed to be chosen to go and learn more about the archival profession there,” she said.

Established in 1993, the award recognizes and acknowledges graduate students of color who through scholastic and personal achievement, manifest an interest in becoming professional archivists and active members of the SAA. The award is named for Pinkett, who served with distinction during his long tenure at the National Archives and Records Administration as well as a Fellow with SAA.

As a volunteer with the Sacramento Central Library’s Special Collections, she helped with an annual Archive crawl. She noticed during the 2018 event that there were a lack of African American visitors during the event.

“Further investigation revealed that the African American community may not have had information on this event and how it applied to them and their legacy,” Osbourne said. “This issue, however is not isolated. Archives across our nation are now recognizing how parts of the community, namely African Americans, have been excluded and it is past time to move and work to include them.”

She took it as her personal mission to gather input on how to create a more welcoming environment and inform diverse community members about events.

“As an African American woman, I know it can be far more comfortable to walk into any event or room to see a wide variety of different hues of color reflected in the people there,” she said.

Osbourne also works to let community members know hat the archives can do for them and what they can do for the archives in return, such as saving historical records.

“As a future archivist, Osbourne is committed to preserving and providing access to the history of African Americans for African American communities,” SAA wrote in a press release. “In her studies and volunteer experiences, she has worked to become aware of the complexities that surround information needs in a modern library and has demonstrated her ability to learn and master the necessary technical skills required for an archivist and librarian.”