Library and Cogut Institute to Offer Certificate in Digital Humanities

instruction taking place in digital studio

In May, Brown’s Graduate School approved a joint proposal from the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities to establish a doctoral advanced specialization certificate in Digital Humanities. Doctoral certificate programs allow PhD students to gain expertise in interdisciplinary areas that complement and expand upon their disciplinary training, both advancing students’ careers and promoting intellectual community across departments. Many graduate students have availed themselves of the training and learning opportunities provided by CDS, which serves as Brown University’s hub for faculty and students to develop and realize their ground-breaking scholarly ideas using the capabilities of the digital realm.

Establishing a certificate responds to the increasing interest of PhD students for more formal curricular recognition of their work to acquire methodological skills and theoretical knowledge in digital scholarship. It is also consistent with the Library’s goal to strengthen its role as a site for collaborative communities of scholars at Brown and build even closer linkages with campus teaching and research programs. Steven Lubar, CDS Faculty Director and Professor of American Studies and History; Ashley Champagne, Head of Digital Scholarship Project Planning; Tara Nummedal, Professor of History and Italian Studies; and Damien Maheit, Associate Director of the Cogut Institute developed the proposal in consultation with faculty and graduate students engaged in digital scholarship. Plans call for the certificate program to launch in the fall 2022 term. 

Commencement Forum | Brown University’s Slavery and Justice Report with Commentary on Context and Impact: Presenting the Revised and Expanded Second Edition

Commencement Forum

Willis Reading Room, John Hay Library
20 Prospect St, Providence, RI
Saturday, May 28
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Join via livestream on YouTube

In 2006 Brown released its groundbreaking “Report of the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice,” confronting and publicly documenting the University’s complex history with the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies of inequity and injustice. A newly released expanded edition, available through an immersive, interactive digital experience and as a printed book, offers insights into the Report’s persistent and evolving impact both on campus and across the world.

Join Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice Director Anthony Bogues; President of Alliance for Justice and AFJ Action Rakim H. Brooks ‘09; and Brown University Library Digital Scholarship Editor Allison Levy for a demonstration and discussion of the enhanced and expanded report. Welcome remarks by Joukowsky Family University Librarian Joseph S. Meisel.

John Hay Library Acquires José Rivera Papers

Lauded contemporary Latinx playwright’s papers will enrich the Hay’s holdings by artists of color in its distinctive Performance & Entertainment collecting area

The John Hay Library has acquired the papers of award-winning Puerto Rican-American playwright and screenwriter José Rivera. Serving as a foundational collection within the Hay’s Performance & Entertainment collecting direction, this trove of material will offer scholars and students a window into the contemporary life and work of a singularly talented writer whose work centers the lived experience of Puerto Rican-Americans. Consisting of 20 boxes, the papers include handwritten drafts, playscripts, notebooks, correspondence, promotional materials, press clippings, photographs, and juvenilia.

A page from a 2002 typed draft of José Rivera’s magical realist work “Lucky.” Mr. Rivera writes new pieces by hand; drafts are then typed for review and revision.

Amanda E. Strauss, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, is thrilled that the Performance & Entertainment area of collecting will be bolstered in such a remarkable way: 

José Rivera is such an important creative voice, and this collection will allow students and scholars to understand his writing process and to see firsthand how he brings his vision to fruition. This material will be heavily used by an international audience, and I’m proud that Mr. Rivera chose the John Hay Library as his partner in preserving and making accessible his archival legacy. 

Born in Puerto Rico in 1955, Mr. Rivera moved to Long Island, NY with his family when he was five years old. He grew up surrounded by books. Though his grandparents could not read or write, they were gifted storytellers, and he realized he wanted to be a writer in his adolescent years. In 1989, he took part in the Sundance Institute workshop led by Nobel Prize winning writer and journalist Gabriel García Márquez, whose magical realist style has been an influence on his work. His plays have been produced internationally and include “Sueño,” which Mr. Rivera translated and adapted from the play by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, recently produced  this spring at Trinity Rep in Providence, RI and directed by Brown/Trinity alumna Tatyana-Marie Carlo, MFA’ 20 d. Mr. Rivera has written many plays, two of which received Obie Awards: “Marisol” (1993) and “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot” (2001); other plays include “The Promise,” “Each Day Dies with Sleep,” “Cloud Tectonics,” “The Street of the Sun,” “Sonnets for an Old Century,” “School of the Americas,” “Brainpeople,” “Giants Have Us in Their Book,” and “The House of Ramon Iglesia.” 

Mr. Rivera visited Brown in April during which time he attended classes with English and Brown/Trinity MFA students, toured the construction site of the new Performing Arts Center with Brown Arts Institute leadership, and met with members of the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies. Patricia Ybarra, Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, explains the significance of this acquisition:

Bringing José Rivera’s papers to Brown will allow researchers and artists to experience the thinking, aesthetics, and creative process of one of the most important and contemporary Latinx playwrights. This collection expands the Brown University Library’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the arts by expanding their collections to include the papers of contemporary artists of color as a key part of the Hay Library’s rich archive of contemporary plays and performance.

Mr. Rivera’s plays have been published by Viking Press, Mentor Books, Dramatists Play Service, Dramatics magazine, Samuel French, Broadway Play Publishing, American Theatre magazine, Theatre Communications Group and Smith & Kraus. 

In addition to playwriting, Mr. Rivera is also a gifted and accomplished screenwriter. His screenplay for the feature film “The Motorcycle Diaries” was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 2005, making him the first Puerto Rican writer to be nominated for an Academy Award. Also nominated for a BAFTA and a Writers Guild Award, “The Motorcycle Diaries” won top writing awards in Spain and Argentina. His screenplay, based on Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was distributed nationally in the winter of 2013. His film “Trade” was the first film to premiere at the United Nations, and he has many other screenplays and screenwriting credits to his name including work in television such as, “The House of Ramon Iglesia; A.K.A. Pablo” for PBS’s “American Playhouse” (Norman Lear, producer); “The Eddie Matos Story; Eerie, Indiana” (co-creator and producer); “Goosebumps; Mayhem” (Bob Cooper, producer); “The Conquest” (Ron Howard, producer); and “Latino Roots,” an untitled 10-hour limited series for HBO. Avery Willis Hoffman, Artistic Director of the Brown Arts Institute, says of Mr. Rivera’s writing:

José Rivera’s seminal works for stage and screen have tackled some of the most pressing social issues of our time — violence, racism and misogyny, mental illness, poverty, climate change; as we work towards the opening of our new Performing Arts Center in late 2023, new creative collaborations and ongoing engagements with artists such as José will define the powerful ways in which art makes space for the exploration of challenging topics.

Mr. Rivera is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Sundance Institute and has been a creative advisor for Screenwriting Labs in Utah, Jordan and India. A member of the LAByrinth Theatre Company and Ensemble Studio Theatre, he leads a weekly writing workshop in New York City, where he lives.

Cataloging of the contents of the collection is ongoing. Requests to view the collection can be made online through the John Hay Library’s website.

Brown Library Announces 2022 Cohort for NEH Institute on Digital Publishing

Fifteen humanities scholars from under-resourced institutions—60% from HBCUs—will convene for national training workshop focused on growing and diversifying digital publication opportunities.

Brown University Library is pleased to announce the 2022 cohort for Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Roadmaps, a three-week hybrid institute designed to expand the voices, perspectives, and visions represented in the practice and production of digital scholarship. Centered on diversity and inclusion, the summer institute—made possible by a $169,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)—will support fifteen scholars who lack the necessary infrastructure at their home institutions to pursue new scholarly forms that offer unique capabilities beyond conventional publishing formats, from multimedia enhancements to global reach.

Through the purposeful training and mentoring of under-resourced scholars, the institute will help bridge a divide that, without intervention, puts digital publishing—as a future of scholarship—at risk of becoming the preserve of only the most affluent institutions. “By making the born-digital publication process more accessible, transparent, and inclusive,” notes Allison Levy, Brown University Library’s Digital Scholarship Editor and the institute’s Project Director, “the institute will foster the elevation of underrepresented voices and subject matter, thereby diversifying the output of teaching and learning resources as well as expanding the readership for humanities scholarship.”

In recognition of its recently extended membership in the HBCU Library Alliance (the first non-HBCU addition to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Library Alliance), Brown University Library will welcome nine faculty and/or alumni—60% of the cohort—from member institutions. “This opportunity will certainly allow my subsequent work to have an immediate impact on my campus, in my local community-based research, and at other area HBCUs,” explains cohort member Marco Robinson, Assistant Professor of History and Assistant Director of the Ruth J. Simmons Center on Race and Justice at Prairie View A&M University. “PVAMU does not have a digital humanities center, digital humanities major or minor, or digital publishing department…. The institute’s reach and engagement with minority-serving institutions has the potential to transform the academy and the landscape of higher education.”

The cohort represents a wide range of humanities disciplines, geographic areas, and career stages. Their rigorous and compelling born-digital publication projects bring to the fore the history and future of Black philanthropy in the U.S.; forgotten radio recordings of African writers in exile in London in the 1960s; and the diary of Lillian Jones Horace, the first published African American novelist in Texas and one of the first Black publishers in American history. Foundational research examines the relationship between the life insurance industry and the transatlantic slave trade; the use of emerging media technologies by multiethnic American poets to create new forms of racial representation and political critique; and Indigenous community activism in relation to Pacific Island climate justice, to name just a few. The full list of cohort projects is available here.

Institute participants will leave Brown with in-depth knowledge of the digital publishing process, familiarity with open-source tools and platforms, advanced project management skills, and top-level publishing industry contacts. Faculty presentations—by digital humanities librarians, digital designers and developers, press directors and acquisitions editors, and authors of published or in-progress digital publications—will be recorded and added to the institute website, which has been designed to serve as an open access, resource-rich hub for digital scholarly publishing. With its re-prioritization of how and for whom the development of digital humanities scholarship is taught, the institute will have far-reaching implications for humanities research and teaching.

“The opportunity to work with these outstanding scholars on developing their exciting research as born-digital monographs will significantly advance the state of the art for thinking about and realizing the innovative possibilities for publishing first-rate scholarship in the 21st century,” said Brown’s University Librarian Joseph Meisel.  

Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Road Maps builds upon the successes of Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative, a collaboration between the University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, launched with generous support from the Mellon Foundation in 2015. The initiative has established a novel, transformative approach to the development of longform, multimodal works that make original and meaningful contributions across the humanities. The initiative also collaborates with publishers to help shape new systems of evaluation, peer review, and scholarly validation for born-digital scholarship. Brown’s first project was published in 2020 by University of Virginia Press; two more publications are forthcoming this summer from Stanford University Press and MIT Press, respectively; and ten other projects are in various stages of development. Brown University Library and MIT Press recently launched On Seeing, a book series committed to centering underrepresented perspectives in visual culture.  

Questions about the institute or the Library’s Digital Publications Initiative can be addressed to Allison Levy, Digital Scholarship Editor ([email protected]).

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.

The National Endowment for the Humanities and Brown University together: Democracy demands wisdom.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release and in the Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Roadmaps Institute do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Power of Words: Banning Books in the United States

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition

From April 8 – May 6, 2022, the Sorensen Family Reading Room on the first floor

April 8 – May 6, 2022
Sorensen Family Reading Room 

On two shelves at the entrance to the Sorensen Family Reading Room on the first floor of the Rock, books held at the Brown University Library that have been banned at least once in the U.S. will be on display for on-site perusal. This sampling shows a range of titles that demonstrate the variation in publication dates, topics, and genres of books that have been met with calls for censorship.

Book banning has a long history in the United States, beginning before the founding of the nation and carried out for many reasons. In 1637, Thomas Morton’s critique of Puritan society garnered him the honor of being banned in the colonies. From The Bible to more recent young adult fiction like The Hate U Give, thousands of books have been challenged or banned in the U.S.  

Since 1982, the American Library Association has compiled an annual banned book list, which consistently includes classics, contemporary fiction, children’s books, young adult fiction, and graphic novels. Recent years have seen books challenged for “sexual content, presence of LGBTQ+ characters, and content unsuitable for age group.”

Virtual Talk on Book Banning with Dr. Emily Knox

On Thursday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m., Dr. Emily Knox will give a talked, “Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice: Understanding the Discourse of Censorship,” for the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center’s Masha Dexter Lecture on Gender, Sexuality, and Public Policy. Dr. Knox, author of Book Banning in 21st Century America (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), will discuss the underpinnings of contemporary book bans and will provide recommendations for how to address book censorship in schools and public libraries.

Immediately following the lecture will be a Q&A moderated by Dr. Kenvi Phillips, Director of Library Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Brown University Library.

RSVP at: https://tinyurl.com/DexterLecture22

More information

Banned Books on Display at the Rock

Brown University Library Celebrates National Public Health Week 2022

In keeping with the theme of National Public Health Week 2022, Public Health is Where You Are, below are some relevant projects, initiatives, and resources from the Brown University Library.

Subscription resources available via the Library

A search for “public health” as subject retrieves these results in BruKnow, the Library catalog. You may use the filters on the left side to refine results by format, library, language, and more. Sign in with your Brown credentials to access or request any of the results.

Key academic research databases, books, journals, and other resources for Public Health can be found here: libguides.brown.edu/PublicHealth.

Freely-available online resources for reliable health information

KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Nonprofit organization focusing on national health issues, as well as the U.S. role in global health policy. KFF develops and runs its own policy analysis, journalism and communications programs, sometimes in partnership with major news organizations. KFF serves as a nonpartisan source of facts, analysis and journalism for policymakers, the media, the health policy community and the public.

MedlinePlus.gov

Offers high-quality, relevant health and wellness information that is trusted, easy to understand, and free of advertising, in both English and Spanish. It is a service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), which is the world’s largest medical library and a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Global Index Medicus

Provides worldwide access to biomedical and public health literature produced by and within low-middle income countries. The material is collated and aggregated by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office Libraries.

More freely-available online resources can be found here: libguides.brown.edu/ConsumerHealth

Center for Digital Scholarship projects

Learn more about the Twitter projects on Black Maternal Health and My Body My Choice that the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) staff have collaborated on with faculty. Information about other CDS projects can be viewed on the CDS website.

Special Collections

Request access to special collections materials at the John Hay Library on Alcohol and Addiction Studies, ACT UP Rhode Island, and more! Find information about many special collections holdings and researching and accessing to special collections.

John Hay Library Acquires Archive of Spiderwoman Theater

Archive of legendary Indigenous theater furthers distinction and depth of Brown’s holdings in multiple interdisciplinary areas of study

First East Coast Pow Wow in New Haven in 1945, Spiderwoman Theater Archive

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] In 1976, when Muriel Miguel, her two sisters, and a diverse group of women founded Spiderwoman Theater in Brooklyn, NY, their aim was to interrogate and challenge anti-feminist narratives of the 1970s through high-caliber theatrical content written and performed by Native American women. A director, actor, playwright, choreographer, and educator, and member of the Kuna and Rappahannock Nations, Muriel — the Library’s connection to this incredible trove of materiel — is the Artistic Director for Spiderwoman Theater, and director for each of the 20 plus Spiderwoman productions. She and the Spiderwoman company draw on Indigenous storytelling traditions to create works that integrate art, dance, and music with humor and pop culture, simultaneously entertaining and educating. 

The archive is an indelible record of Spiderwoman’s history and the lives of Native American women onstage and off, and it brings extraordinary depth to the John Hay Library’s collections on Performance & Entertainment,  Global Lavender Voices, and more. Avery Willis Hoffman, Artistic Director, Brown Arts Institute, describes the impact Spiderwoman Theater and Muriel particularly have had on the practice of performance and the scholarly potential of her archive at Brown: “Muriel Miguel’s lifetime of contributions to the field of theater and Spiderwoman Theater’s mighty expansions on the realm of theatrical creativity is immeasurable; I have no doubt that the Archive will provide inspiration and a wealth of fruitful discoveries for future generations of students, faculty, visiting researchers and artists.” 

Recognized by Indigenous women in New York and beyond in the 1980s as a powerful representative of their voices and concerns, Spiderwoman Theater has since been globally renowned as an artistic force in the advancement of Indigenous women, artists, and cultural artisans. Its productions exist at the intersection of Indigenous life, sexism, classism, and violence in the lives of women — and at the vanguard of contemporary Western theatre. According to D. Rae Gould, Executive Director of Native American and Indigenous Studies, Adjunct Professor for American Studies, Affiliated Faculty in Anthropology, and Faculty Associate in the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice:

This collection will help to support and strengthen the new concentration in Critical Native American and Indigenous Studies that will launch in Fall 2022. We are grateful to have Spiderwoman Theater’s work at the University for future generations of students, faculty and other scholars. It will serve as a foundational collection for further development of the Creative Expressions area of the concentration, in particular, and expand our knowledge and understandings of her contributions to the field of Indigenous Theater.

Muriel Miguel, Co-founder, Spiderwoman Theater; credit: Shawn McPherson

In September 2019, Muriel presented Muriel Miguel: A Retrospective for the Brown University Library’s 15th Annual Don Wilmeth Endowed Lectureship in American Theatre, during which she shared the fascinating journey from her roots in Brooklyn to her landmark contributions to the contemporary feminist and Indigenous theatre movements in the United States, Canada, and around the world. Amanda Strauss, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, reflects: 

Hearing Muriel speak in such an intimate setting and spending time with her since the lecture, learning about her life and her collection, are experiences that I will always treasure. I’m proud of the enduring relationship that the Hay has built with Muriel and, through her, Spiderwoman Theater, and am thrilled that we can be a gateway for the researchers, students, performing artists, and community members who will immerse themselves in this collection and draw from it inspiration and knowledge that will generate new scholarship and art.

The Library was honored to host Muriel, and is proud to preserve and provide broad research access to this unique collection. Once at the Hay Library, the materials will have an immediate and lasting impact on many areas of study at Brown, including Native American and Indigenous Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies and the Brown Arts Institute, where Muriel’s daughter Murielle Borst-Tarrant (Kuna, Rappahannock), Artistic Director and Founder of the Safe Harbor Indigenous Collective, is currently a visiting Professor of the Practice. Sarah dAngelo, Assistant Professor for Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, knows Murielle well and states, “Murielle is a third generation New Yorker, and carries her family’s legacy as an Indigenous theatre artist, activist, and cultural change maker. The Brown community is incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity to engage with her as one of the most vital and accomplished storytellers working in the American Theatre today.” Access to the Spiderwoman Theater archive and Murielle’s knowledge and experience will offer Brown students and faculty deep and authentic knowledge of Indigenous theatre specifically and the art of theatre writ large.

Muriel and her wife Deborah Ratelle are currently preparing the large archive for retrieval from their home in Brooklyn, NY. The Library anticipates that it will be at Brown and available for study in late spring 2023.

Brown Signs Read and Publish Agreement with Cambridge University Press

No Article Processing Charges for Brown authors who wish to publish articles via gold open access with Cambridge University Press

Many authors would like to publish their scholarly articles gold open access (OA) but are deterred by the article processing charge (APC) assessed by the publisher — sometimes as high as thousands of dollars. With Brown’s recent Read & Publish agreement with Cambridge University Press, corresponding authors at Brown who have manuscripts accepted for publication from the 1st of January 2022 and publish in Cambridge’s journals will no longer have to pay the APC for gold OA, augmenting OA publishing options at Brown, providing Brown community members with free access to Cambridge titles, and enhancing global access to scholarly work by Brown researchers.

With gold OA, the final published version of the article — the “Version of Record” — is permanently and freely available online for anyone, anywhere to read. 

Read more about the Read & Publish agreement here and the process here. This agreement strengthens Brown’s commitment to OA and facilitates compliance with the Brown University Open Access Policy, adopted by the faculty in 2021.

Questions about Brown’s Read & Publish agreement with Cambridge University Press? Visit [email protected] or contact [email protected]

DH Salons at the Rock on Fridays

Rockefeller Library facade

Please join the Center for Digital Scholarship for a new DH Salon, launching Friday, October 29, at noon in the Digital Scholarship Lab in the Rockefeller Library or via the Zoom* link below. DH Salons will take place every other Friday.

At these informal “brown-bag” meetings, we invite discussion and exploration of digital humanities projects, scholarship, careers, and pedagogy. Each session will feature a different presenter, including graduate students, faculty and staff at Brown and beyond.

First two meetings:

October 29

  • Creating a Career in Digital Scholarship
  • Ashley Champagne (Head, Digital Scholarship Project Planning, CDS) and Allison Levy (Digital Scholarship Editor, CDS)

November 12

  • Taking the Reins, Harnessing the Digital: Enabling and Supporting Public Scholarship in Graduate Level Training
  • Sara Mohr (PhD candidate in Brown University’s Department of Egyptology and Assyriology, Brown)

*NOTE: All DH salons will take place on Fridays at noon in a hybrid format. Please do join us in person in the DSL in the Rock if you can, but those who prefer or need to Zoom in may using this link: https://brown.zoom.us/j/92773576774.

Our December meetings will take place on December 3 and 17 — additional information to follow.

For more information, contact [email protected].

The HBCU Library Alliance and Brown Library receive IMLS grant for Leadership Development Program

Cultural sensitivity and organizational healing will be integral facets of unique partnership program to foster leaders at HBCU libraries and Brown University

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] The HBCU Library Alliance and Brown University Library have received a $100,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program to create a transformational leadership development program: Stronger Together, Leading Through Community. This two-year program for emerging library leaders is the first such program to intentionally unite two distinct communities of practice, HBCUs and Brown University. The curriculum and immersive exchanges of this intensive program will develop core leadership competencies such as change management, fundraising, and collection stewardship. The program will also focus on the leader’s role in promoting organizational healing from the disruption of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in ensuring that libraries are sites of intentional social justice work.

Mutually Beneficial Partnership

The HBCU Library Alliance is a consortium that supports collaboration across the libraries and between information professionals dedicated to providing an array of resources designed to strengthen Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their constituents. This grant award marks the first project to be undertaken as part of the formal partnership between the HBCU Library Alliance and Brown University Library. The HBCU Library Alliance welcomed Brown University Library into its community of practice in February 2020 as its inaugural invited, non-HBCU affiliate member. This partnership is based on deep relational work that acknowledges and actively counteracts the historical power imbalance between HBCUs and the Ivy League. It is built with respect and investment in each other’s communities with the shared focus of mutually beneficial partnership activities. Sandra Phoenix, executive director of the HBCU Library Alliance, looks forward to working with Brown to foster strong, culturally sensitive library leaders: 

Collaborating with Brown University to support leadership development and to continue our mission to strengthen HBCU libraries and their staff sets the stage to advance our work together. We are grateful to IMLS for funding the Stronger Together, Leading through Community leadership development initiative. It is our goal to share skills and talents with Brown University, create and cultivate a diverse space for mutual teaching/learning/healing experiences and develop high-calibre library leaders to meet the needs of our communities.

Both the HBCU Library Alliance and Brown University Library have a long history of successful partnerships, which have laid the operational foundation for this pilot project to succeed and grow into a sustainable program that will deeply influence the trajectory of leadership development in libraries. According to Monika Rhue, Director of Library Services and Curation at Johnson C. Smith University’s James B. Duke Memorial Library, and HBCU Library Alliance Board chair, the grant-funded, partner-run program is well positioned to develop library leaders with expertise in social justice:

The program’s pilot will include a most-essential social justice component, where we will focus on leadership development from the lens of community members engaged in civil/human rights. There is such potential to learn, to share experiences, and to advance the development of leaders with this critical perspective. Thanks are due to Brown University for this opportunity to engage and to IMLS for funding this very timely initiative. Our transformative work continues!

The program will break new ground in library leadership development by prioritizing two guiding principles:

  1. Equitable Partnership: Intentional, respectful, and mutually beneficial partnerships across communities are essential for advancing the mission of academic libraries to serve as core resources for socially-engaged scholarship.
  2. Unique Value of HBCUs: HBCU Libraries are uniquely positioned as educational institutions that steward and preserve African American history and culture. It is the responsibility of all research libraries to support this work and advance the status and reach of HBCU libraries, thereby amplifying the cultural, social and scholarly value of African American history.

Emerging Leaders Cohort

The pilot’s cohort of emerging leaders is purposefully designed to be small, including a total of six participants drawing from HBCU Library Alliance member libraries and Brown University Library. The size will ensure deeply personalized attention to the participants, and the program directors — Sandra Phoenix, Executive Director of the HBCU Library Alliance, and Amanda E. Strauss, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, Brown University — will be attentive to how the unique qualities of this program can be scaled for broader impact.  

Program activities will include:

  • Personalized Leadership Development Plans: Each member of the cohort will have support to create a personalized leadership development plan.
  • Formal Mentorship during the program and beyond 
  • Virtual learning and coursework: The cohort will have access to a unique leadership curriculum specifically designed for this program.
  • Cohort connections in-person and virtual
  • Immersive Exchanges: Each emerging leader will participate in a multi-day, immersive site visit at either an HBCU library or Brown University Library. These exchange residencies will be tailored to individual leadership development plans created as part of the curriculum.
  • Leadership Symposium: The program will culminate in an invitational leadership symposium wherein the emerging leaders cohort will partner with the instructors and curriculum designers to share their learning outcomes with 30-50 colleagues drawn from HBCU libraries and Brown University Library. 

“The support from IMLS is a wonderful recognition of our partnership and the goals we share for advancing the next generation of academic library leaders,” said Joseph S. Meisel, Joukowsky Family University Librarian at Brown. “Combining the distinctive strengths of the HBCU Library Alliance, its member institutions, and the Brown University Library on the basis of genuine reciprocity is a very exciting prospect.”

IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program (LB21) supports the development of a diverse workforce of librarians and archivists in order to meet the information needs of their communities by enhancing the training and professional development of library and archives professionals; developing faculty and information leaders; and recruiting, educating, and retaining the next generation of library and archives professionals.