The Black Librarian in America: Reflections, Resistance, and Reawakening. Shauntee Burns-Simpson, Nichelle M. Hayes, Ana Ndumu, and Shaundra Walker, eds. Washington, DC: Rowman & Littlefield, 2022. 288p. Hardback, $105 (ISBN: 978-1-5381-5266-9).

April M. Hathcock


It was with delight that I accepted the offer to write a review for the latest iteration of The Black Librarian in America. As a proud Black librarian in America and a lifetime member of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), I have read the previous versions of this collection hungrily, inspired by the stories of other librarians whose experiences overlap, differ, and connect in power to my own. This latest edition of the collection marks the 50th anniversary of both the first edition, edited by the renowned Dr. E.J. Josey, cofounder and first chair of BCALA, and of BCALA itself. This reflective and celebratory edition comes at yet another pivotal moment in Black history and life (among so many), when the last few years have seen a global pandemic that disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and demands for racial justice have reached interesting new plateaus. In many ways, the world for Black Americans in 2020–2022 is very similar to the world faced by Black Americans, and Black librarians, in the 1970s. Yet, as this edition of The Black Librarian in America can attest, there are important changes and new challenges, yes, but also new opportunities to move the work of the ancestors forward in service for the generations to come.

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