The cost of care and the impact on the archives profession

Document Type


Publication Date



University Library

Publication Title

Journal of Western Archives


The archives profession has, in recent years, exerted considerable effort to become more welcoming and inclusive to diverse archival professionals. Many of these efforts have focused intensively on recruiting a diverse workforce. In this article, the authors propose a new approach through which to create and sustain inclusive archival work environments: caregiving. National research has shown that caregiving responsibilities affect women more than their male counterparts, and within these gender divides there are aspects of caregiving that impact individuals of different racial and cultural backgrounds unequally. The issue of navigating the demands of caregiving, work responsibilities, and professional engagement must be discussed openly and with the goal of mitigating the long-term consequences on caregivers’ health, career advancement, and financial stability. As professionals who care for archival collections, the additional demands and central importance of caregiving for loved ones incur measurable impact on archival careers. If the archival profession desires to be truly inclusive, then the issues surrounding the related factors of development opportunities, wages, and affordable care need to be confronted. This article aims to provide context for the argument that supporting caregiving responsibilities during archival employment is a crucial component of creating a wholly inclusive profession. The authors provide a literature review across disciplines, outline factors that directly influence archivists who are caregivers, and identify areas for further research.

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