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Thursday, November 8 • 11:30am - 12:10pm
African and African American Studies Collections and Digital Resources

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This panel offers two perspectives of increasing awareness of African and African American Studies collections and digital resources.

Over the last 10 years, the number of African and African American online collections and databases have nearly doubled. Adding these important resources to the library’s digital landscape brings a richness to research across disciplines and supports diversity and inclusion initiatives. While it is refreshing to see the increase in these tools, the authors are curious to discover the characteristics of ARL libraries providing access to or purchasing these materials. Objectives of this perspective is to share research--highlighting the trends and characteristics of ARL libraries providing access to these resources and to explore the criteria used to make decisions about new resources in area studies.

In a Journal of Academic Librarianship article from 2000, Susan A. Vega García wrote that “there is a dearth of empirical research that has examined multicultural diversity in terms of actual collecting patterns of academic and research libraries [...].” And yet, when diversity in the library field is even discussed, the focus is seldom on collections. This nearly-20- year-old article is one of the few that addresses African American Studies collections in the LIS literature. Vega García’s words have become only more germane in 2018: “The viewpoint that racial and ethnic materials are relevant only to their respective populations is an outdated and erroneous approach to collection development, especially for ARLs that must help prepare students for their entry into the real world.”

In this session, we will explore African and African American Studies collections’ importance to educational institutions’ intellectual life and the larger communities in which they are situated; brainstorm techniques for promoting these collections to internal and external audiences; and strategize collaborations with African and African American Studies liaison librarians.


Courtney Becks

Librarian for African American Studies and Jewish Studies Bibliographer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
avatar for Charlene Maxey-Harris

Charlene Maxey-Harris

Research and Instructional Services Chair, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
I'm passionate about life and learning!
avatar for David Tyler

David Tyler

Collections Analyst & Strategist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Thursday November 8, 2018 11:30am - 12:10pm EST
Pinckney Room, Francis Marion Hotel 387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403