The Black Librarian in America – Call For Abstracts

Call For Abstracts

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association seeks chapter abstracts for The Black Librarian in America: Reflections, Resistance, and Reawakening. To commemorate two important milestonesthe 50th Anniversary of both BCALA’s founding and the first publication of Black Librarians in Americawe invite full chapters on the important role that Black librarians play in U.S. society. Chapters that draw on the achievements of African American/Black librarians to address ongoing social inequality are fitting. Authors are also encouraged to reflect on the current seismic period in our nation’s story. In light of persistent social and racial inequalities, for example, health disparities exposed by COVID-19 along with the racist murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and others, this monograph will contribute to the discourse on ways of increasing anti-racism, empowerment, and representation in the LIS field and beyond. The editors also welcome critiques that rethink or probe Black librarianship. Prospective authors should submit 1000 word abstracts to [email protected] by December 1, 2020 at 11:59p.m. Eastern. Please see the instructions at the end.

The Black Librarian in America: Reflections, Resistance, and Reawakening follows a series of Scarecrow/Rowman and Littlefield publications on Black librarianship:

  • Black Librarian in America: Issues and Challenges (1970)
  • What Black Librarians Have to Say (1972)
  • Black Librarians in America Revisited (1994)
  • Handbook for Black Librarianship, 2nd ed. (2000)
  • The 21st-century Black Librarian (2012)
  • E.J. Josey: Transformational Leader of the Modern Library (2019)
  • The African American Struggle for Library Equality (2019)

The goal of this edition is to expand understandings of Black librarians in LISspecifically, the various cross-sections of Black librarian identities and the relationship between this segment of the profession and vital institutions, including but not limited to the legal/law enforcement, medical, education, and financial sectors. The Black Librarian in America: Reflections, Resistance, and Reawakening will be divided into four sections: 

  1. A rich heritage: Honoring Black library history
  2. Celebrating collective and individual identity
  3. Black librarians across settings
  4. Moving Forward: Activism, anti-racism, and allyship

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • The historical significance of Black librarianship to societal change
  • Being Black and differently-abled and/or neurodiverse in libraries/LIS
  • Black cultural heritage, archives, museums
  • The Black LGTBQIA+ community in libraries/LIS
  • The impact of feminism, women’s rights, and the #MeToo Movement on Black librarianship
  • Academic libraries, particularly historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs)
  • Libraries/LIS and the eradication of the school-to-prison pipeline
  • Links between Black librarianship and immigration
  • Libraries/LIS and the eradication of mass incarceration, biased policing, and surveillance
  • Issues pertaining to Black males in libraries/LIS
  • Prioritizing Black children and youth in libraries/LIS
  • The role of libraries/LIS in fostering community dialogue and healing
  • Black librarians and civic engagement in an era of demagoguery and political unrest
  • Analysis of Black librarian leadership development 
  • Strengthening the recruitment and experiences of Black MLIS students 
  • Increasing and sustaining racial representation among LIS faculty
  • Labor, economic, or financial realities of Black LIS workers
  • Emancipatory, humanizing, and Afrocentric approaches to LIS education and research


Prospective authors should submit 1000 word abstracts to [email protected] by December 1, 2020 at 11:59p.m. Eastern. Abstracts must include the following information:

  • Target audience (e.g., type of information worker-school, public, academic, archivists, museum curators, LIS educators, LIS students)
  • Target section (e.g., Black Library History; Celebrating collective and individual identity; Black librarians across settings; Moving Forward)
  • Chapter rationale (e.g., purpose, scope, guiding questions, implications)
  • Chapter organization (e.g., outline, section headers, or signposting)
  • Author(s) Bio(s): (e.g., ~100-words on background or experience)


Deadline: December 1, 2020 11:59p.m.

Decision notifications: December 13, 2020 11:59p.m.

First drafts due: February 13, 2021 11:59p.m.

Request for edits: March 15, 2021 11:59p.m.

Final drafts due: April 15, 2021 11:59p.m.

Anticipated publication: October 15, 2021 p.m.

About the Editors

Shauntee Burns-Simpson (MLIS) currently serves as the 2020-2022 President of BCALA. She is the Associate Director of School Outreach for The New York Public Library. An ambassador for libraries and Youth Librarian, President Burns-Simpson enjoys connecting people to the public library and its resources. She works closely with at-risk teens and fosters a love of reading & learning with her innovative programs. In addition to leading BCALA, she chairs the American Library Association Office of Diversity, Literacy, & Outreach Services (ODLOS) Committee on Diversity.

Nichelle M. Hayes (MPA, MLS) is the BCALA President-Elect (2022-2024) and current Vice-President. She leads the Center for Black Literature & Culture (CBLC) at the Indianapolis Public Library. Hayes graduated from Indiana University’s School of Library & Information Science (SLIS) and began her library career as a Library Media Specialist at an Elementary School in Indianapolis. Later, she worked as an Adult Reference Librarian Specializing in Business. She serves on a number of organizational boards throughout the state of Indiana, including the Indiana Black Librarians Network (IBLN) as Immediate Past President and NAACP Greater Indianapolis Branch. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. A Public Service Organization. Vice-President Hayes blogs at where she discusses genealogy and keeping families connected.

Shaundra Walker (MLIS, Ph.D.) is Interim Library Director at Georgia College. She holds a B.A. in History from Spelman College, a Masters in Library and Information Studies from Clark Atlanta University, and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership with a concentration in higher education administration from Mercer University. Dr. Walker has over 15 years of experience working in libraries and higher education. Her work and research in libraries and education are deeply influenced by her experience attending and working in HBCUs. Her scholarly interests include the recruitment and retention of diverse librarians and organizational development within the library. Dr. Walker is the former BCALA Organizational Director and current chair of the Marketing Committee.

Ana Ndumu (MLIS, Ph.D.) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland College Park’s College of Information Studies who primarily researches and teaches on library services to immigrantsparticularly, Black diasporic immigrantsalong with methods for promoting representation and inclusion in LIS. A former HBCU (historically Black colleges and universities) librarian, she is interested in the cross between Black identity, information access, and social inclusion. Dr. Ndumu is a BCALA Executive Board member and co-chair of the Professional Development & Recruitment Committee. 

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