New book blends research and real-life examples to help libraries better support African American youth

November 16, 2016

Libraries, Literacy, and African American Youth, a new book by researchers from the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and North Carolina Central University (NCCU), aims to aid in the development of culturally responsive school and library programs with the goal of helping to close the achievement gap and improve the quality of life for African American youth. Published by Libraries Unlimited in October, the book draws from various academic fields to explore the issues surrounding African American literacy.   

Drs. Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Pauletta Brown Bracy, and Casey Rawson merge their own work with the findings of other researchers and practitioners. Exemplary programs, such as the award-winning Pearl Bailey Library Program, the Maker Jawn initiative at the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate writing institute in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, are highlighted to help readers understand how to put theory and research-based best practices into action and adapt them to meet the needs of their communities.

Julie Stivers (MSLS ’16), Faith Burns (MSLS ’16), Heather Cunningham (MSLS ’11), and SILS Distinguished Alumna Demetria Tucker (MSLS '78) wrote chapters for the book.

More about the Authors  

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, a professor at SILS, is the recipient of the 2013 and 2014 Virginia Hamilton Essay Award Citation for her essays on the topic of African American youth, literacy instruction, and text choices for services to multicultural populations. Earlier this year, she was elected to the 2016-19 Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Board of Directors as President-Elect and awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for “Project READY: Reimagining Equity and Access for Diverse Youth–A Professional Development Curriculum.” The latest grant expands on work that began with funding from a 2011 IMLS National Leadership Forum grant “Building a Bridge to Literacy for African-American Male Youth: A Call to Action for the Library Community.”

Pauletta Brown Bracy is director of the Office of University Accreditation and professor of library science at North Carolina Central University. Her areas of specialization are school media librarianship and children's and young adult services and resources.

Casey Rawson (MSLS '11, PhD ‘16) is a post-doctoral researcher at SILS and the co-principal investigator for Project READY. Her experience includes teaching middle school science in urban, high-poverty schools, and she was a co-recipient of a 2013 Virginia Hamilton Essay Award, along with Hughes-Hassell.