Report from Liaison to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)

ALA/ACRL/AFAS Liaison to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)
Annual Report 2012
by Glenda Alvin,
Assistant Director for Collection Management and Administration
Brown-Daniel Library/Tennessee State University

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) was founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1915. He originated Negro History Week, which is now Black History Month. ASALH selects the national theme for Black History Month each year and has done so since 1928. The ASALH annual conference was held in Pittsburgh, PA on September 26-30, 2012. The conference theme was Black Women in American Culture and Life. This was my first ASALH conference, so I introduced myself to the Executive Director, Sylvia Y. Cyrus. Ms. Cyrus invited me to work with the Program and Publications Committee, so I introduced myself to the Chair, Dr. Darryl Michael Scott and during our brief conversation he indicated that he would like for me to help promote ASALH’s new journal, Fire!!! The Multimedia Journal of Black Studies. I gave both of them my business cards for further contact.

I am a member of both ASALH and the Association of Black Women Historians (ABWH.) The two organizations are informally affiliated and hold their annual meetings jointly, because the founders of ABWH are also members of ASALH. I have been working closely with the National Director of ABWH, Dr. Ida Jones, to develop three bibliographies that will be posted on the organization’s website in the coming months. I updated the list of Letitia Brown Woods Award winners for books, anthologies, and journal articles written about black women. I compiled a list of books published by ABWH members and a bibliography of core books for the study of African American women’s history. For the ABWH newsletter, Truth, I have compiled two lists of newly published titles on Black Women’s History. The Special Issue 2012 is available in print only, however the previous 2011 fall issue is online.

ASALH schedule of panels, plenaries, and movie presentations, began at 8:30 AM and ended at 7:45 PM. The association’s business meeting went past 10:30 PM. Thursday’s plenary featured two powerful artists: Sonia Sanchez, poet, writer and activist and Bernice Johnson Reagon, singer and founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock, civil rights activist and retired Smithsonian curator. Friday’s plenary was a panel of women historians, who have written biographies of Ida Wells-Barnett over the past twelve years.

The ASALH conference featured interesting presentations by librarians. One of the most notable was given by AFAS past Chair, Rebecca Hankins, who led a panel on the relevance of hairstyles to black female identity entitled, “I Am Not My Hair: Reclaiming Black Beauty.” A panel on the role of African American librarians and archivists in maintaining scholarly, as well as community collections had a lively discussion on funding and support.

As an acquisitions librarian with a second masters in U. S. History, who has also served as library liaison to Africana Studies and African American Studies Departments over the past twenty years, it was a thrill to witness many of the authors whose books I have added to collections. The “Founders of the Field: African American Women and African American Women’s History” featured not only scholars that had published seminal works in the field like, Darlene Clark Hine, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Janice Sumler-Edmonds and Deborah Gray White, but who are also the founders of the ABWH. Besides the plenaries, it was one of the most well attended sessions at the conference.

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History will hold its next conference in Jacksonville, FL, October 2-6, 2013. The theme is At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington. I intend to volunteer to chair a session or be a presenter. To learn more about ASALH visit their website:

AFAS Schedule at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago

The ACRL African American Studies Librarians Section will host the following meetings at the 2013 American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois (June 27-July 2):

Executive Committee Meeting
Saturday, June 29, 2013
8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Radisson Blue Hotel (RAD) Baltic/Bering


General Membership Meeting
Saturday, June 29, 2013
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center (MCP) S505a

AFAS at ALA Annual Conference, June 21-26, Anaheim, CA

AFAS will host the following meetings and programs at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA:

Executive Committee Meeting
Saturday, June 23, 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Disneyland Hotel, Explorer


General Membership Meeting
Saturday, June 23, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Disneyland Hotel, Explorer Monorail A

The AFAS 2013 ALA Conference Planning Committee will also meet during this time to plan for a program at the DuSable Museum in Chicago. Chicago-based librarians are especially invited to join the committee to assist with planning.


AFAS Program: HBCU Library Alliance – History and Accomplishments
Monday, June 25, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Anaheim Convention Center, 202A

AFAS schedule for Midwinter 2012 (Dallas, TX)

Join AFAS at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, January 20-24, 2012, in Dallas, Texas.  AFAS will host the following meetings.  All times are CST.

AFAS Executive Committee Meeting
Saturday, January 21, 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Location: Sheraton Hotel – Majestic Room 09

AFAS General Membership Meeting
Saturday, January 21, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Dallas Convention Center (DCC) – C143

AFAS Call for Nominations (deadline August 19, 2011)

The 2012 Nominating Committee (Joyce K. Thornton, Charlene Maxey-Harris, Bennie Robinson, & Rayette Sterling) is issuing a call for members who are interested in serving the section as vice chair/chair elect, secretary, and member-at large. If you are interested in serving in either of these positions, please submit your name to Joyce K. Thornton via email at by August 19, 2011.

The candidate for vice chair/chair elect, if elected will serve a 3-year term of office. The vice chair is expected to attend Section functions at ALA Annual Conferences and Midwinter Meetings, including the ACRL Leadership Council 1(2:30-4:00 p.m., June 22, 2012) in Anaheim, CA.

The secretary and member-at-large are expected to attend Section functions at ALA Annual Conferences and Midwinter Meetings during their terms of office.

Looking forward to hearing from you by August 19, 2011.


Joyce K. Thornton

Liaison to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History sought

AFAS is seeking a member to serve as as the ACRL Liaison to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

The deadline for applications is July 15, 2011.  Please submit the application form to Rebecca Hankins (rhankins AT

From the ACRL Liaison Activities webpage:

ACRL has a rich history of working with its membership to establish and cultivate relationships beyond ALA. Liaison relationships allow ACRL to systematically identify, develop, and maintain productive channels for formal and informal dialogue as well as partnerships for research, exchange of ideas, discussion of common standards and practice, joint publication, and pursuing common goals with other organizations interested in higher education. Liaisons are to help organizations understand the value-added asset libraries can bring to their respective missions and goals.

AFAS Reception at ALA Annual Conference (June 25, 2011)

Honoring Our Ancestors: Librarians and Scholars

A Reception for AFAS Members and Guests

Saturday, June 25, 2011
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
New Orleans African American Museum
Located in Treme, the oldest surviving black community in the United States

1418 Governor Nicholls Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

RSVP on Facebook
rhankins AT

Africana subject specialists and their guests are inivted to share with AFAS librarians as we pay tribute to those librarians and scholars who have, and continue to, strengthen the field of Africana Studies.

Prizes, Refreshments, networking and fun!

See you in New Orleans!