ALA Editions Special Report examines Black and African Americans’ experiences in libraries
For Immediate Release
ALA Publishing & Media
American Library Association
CHICAGO — Still a predominantly white profession, librarianship has a legacy of racial discrimination, and it is essential that we face the ways that race impacts how we meet the needs of diverse user communities. Identifying and acknowledging implicit and learned bias is a necessary step toward transforming not only our professional practice but also our scholarship, assessment, and evaluation practices. The first Special Report in a two-volume set, “Narratives of (Dis)Enfranchisement: Reckoning with the History of Libraries and the Black and African American Experience,” published by ALA Editions, provides an overview of the historical exclusion of Black and African Americans from libraries and educational institutions in the United States. Authors Tracey Overbey and Amanda L. Folk also explore the ways in which this legacy is manifest in our contemporary context. From this report, readers will:
- learn the hidden history of Africa’s contributions to libraries and educational institutions, which are often omitted from K-12, higher education, and library school curricula;
- engage with the racist legacies of libraries as well as contemporary scholarship related to Black and African American users’ experiences with libraries;
- be introduced to frameworks and theories that can help to identify and unpack the role of race in librarianship and in library users’ experiences; and
- garner practical takeaways to bring to their own views and practice of librarianship.
Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.
The forthcoming companion volume to this Special Report will detail the findings of a groundbreaking study conducted by the authors of the experiences of Black and African American students in undergraduate school, public, and academic libraries, exploring the implications for research and practice in the field.
Overbey is assistant professor and Social Sciences Librarian at The Ohio State University Libraries. She won an organizational award for implementing a seed library at The Ohio State University Libraries for students to come and obtain seeds from the library to plant fresh produce within their residence halls. This initiative helped those students and faculty who live in food desert communities. She has also won state and local grants that expose students who live within economically strained communities to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) resources through programming and hands-on explorations. In addition, she serves on the Executive Board for the Black Caucus American Library Association, has published in Public Library Quarterly, and presented conference papers at the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) conferences. Folk is an assistant professor and head of the Teaching & Learning Department at The Ohio State University Libraries. In addition to serving as the editor in chief for The Journal of Academic Librarianship, she has been published in College & Research Libraries, portal: Libraries and the Academy, College & Undergraduate Libraries, the Journal of Library Administration, and International Information & Library Review. She was the recipient of the 2020 ACRL Instruction Section’s Ilene F. Rockman Instruction Publication of the Year Award.
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