Afro-American Studies Collection

I. Collection Description


To support research and teaching on the Black experience outside of Africa, with an emphasis on the Americas. Currently, Afro-American Studies courses at the University are taught through numerous departments and coordinated by the Afro-American Studies and Research Program. Although no degree is given presently, plans are underway for Afro-American Studies to become an undergraduate field of concentration. At this time, Afro-American courses are offered in the fields of literature, Spanish, education, history, sociology, theatre, dance, music, social work and bibliography.

History of Collection:

Although materials by and about Afro-Americans have been part of the collection for many decade, the systematic acquisition and coordination began in 1969, when Alex Boyd became the first Afro-Americana Bibliographer. This position began as part of the general acquisitions department and became a separate bibliographic unit during the administration of the second bibliographer, Pola Patterson. The Afro-Americana Unit, which shares a suite with Africana, has a bibliographer and a library technical assistant. A portion of the library's holdings in Afro-Americana is listed in the unit's card catalog, which includes approximately 10,000 entries.

Estimate of Holdings:

117,000 volumes.

State, Regional and National Importance:

The Afro-American collection is among the top five academic library collections in the country, especially because of the strong, balanced holdings in both North and South America. The publicly owned collections in Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Vivian ~arsh Collection of the Chicago Public Library, make the state one of the most significant places for Afro-American studies in the nation.

Unit Responsible for Collecting:

Afro-Americana Unit. Other units that collect a significant amount of material relevant to the Black experience are Latin American Collection Development, the English, History, Music, and Education and Social Science Libraries.

Location of Materials:

Afro-American resources are found throughout the University's various libraries, with the largest number located in the Bookstacks.

Citations of Works Describing the Collection:

None available.

II. General Collection Guidelines


Standard statement. In addition, several creole languages.

Chronological Guidelines:

No restrictions.

Geographical Guidelines:

Outside of Africa with emphasis on the American.

Treatment of Subject:

Materials dealing with the Black experience. Academic level, including scholarly treatment and selected textbooks. In addition, selected children's material.

Types of Materials:

Standard statement. Current emphasis on dissertations since they are one of the major sources for Afro-American scholarship at present.

Date of Publication:

Standard statement.

Place of Publication:

No restrictions.

III. Collection Responsibility by Subject Subdivisions with Qualifications, Levels of Collecting Intensity, and Assignments

Below is a table that lists specific subject subdivisions within the collection. Each row in the table lists a specific subject subdivision, followed by three columns noting: Collection Strength, Primary Assignments and Secondary Assignments. The Existing Collecting Strength column notes how well the existing collection covers that topic on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being very strong. The Primary Assignments column lists departmental libraries that have the greatest collection intensity of subject materials, respectively. In the case of 2 or more libraries listed, the collection intensity is comparable. The Secondary Assignments column list departmental libraries where additional materials may be found.

Afro-American Studies Collection
Afro-Americans — anthropology 3 Anthropology Afro-American
Afro-Americans — art history and criticism 2 Art Afro-American
Afro-Americans —biography 3 Afro-American History
Afro-Americans — education 2 Afro-American Education
Afro-Americans — health 1 Afro-American  
Afro-Americans — history 3 Afro-American / History / Latin American  
Afro-Americans — juvenilia 2 Afro-American Instructional materials
Afro-Americans — linguistics 2 Linguistics Afro-American
Afro-Americans — literature
Original works-U. S. authors 3 Afro-American / English  
Canadian authors 2 Afro-American English
Latin American and Caribbean authors writing in: English 3 Afro-American / Latin American  
French 3 Afro-American/ French / Latin American  
Spanish 3 Afro-American / Latin American  
Portuguese 2 Afro-American / Latin American  
Dutch 1 Afro-American German / Latin American
Creole 1 Afro-American Comparative literature / Latin American
Afro-Americans — media history and criticism 2 Afro-American Communications
Afro-Americans — music
Records and sheet music
3 Music Afro-American
History 3 Music Afro-American
Afro-Americans — political science 2 Afro-American Political science
Afro-Americans — psychology 2 Afro-American Psychology
Afro-Americans — reference works 4 Afro-American Reference
Afro-Americans — science
(Black contributions and impact on black people) 1 Afro-American  
Afro-Americans — sociology 3 Afro-American Sociology
Afro-Americans — women's studies 2 Afro-American / Women's Studies  


Revision Date: May 2007