cover of book

Narratives of (Dis)Enfranchisement: Reckoning with the History of Libraries and the Black and African American Experience
by Tracey Overbey and Amanda L. Folk
American Library Association, 2022
eISBN: 978-0-8389-4992-4 | Paper: 978-0-8389-3737-2
Library of Congress Classification Z711.9.O94 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 027.008996073

This first Special Report in a two-volume set on Black and African Americans’ experiences in libraries provides an overview of their historical exclusion from libraries and educational institutions in the United States, also exploring the ways in which this legacy is manifest in our contemporary context. A compelling call to action, it will serve as the beginning of many conversations in which librarianship reckons with its racist past to move towards a more equitable future.

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. From this Special 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.

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