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The Black Librarian in America: Reflections, Resistance and Reawakening

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Cover of the book The Black Librarian in America

In honor of Black History Month, this virtual panel presentation will feature the editors of The Black Librarian in America: Reflections, Resistance, and Reawakening (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020), and will explore issues related to Black librarians' intersectional identities and experiences. Shauntee Burns-Simpson (New York Public Library), Nichelle Hayes (Indianapolis Public Library), Ana Ndumu (University of Maryland, College of Information Studies), and Shaundra Walker (Georgia College) will discuss Black librarians’ experiences in four thematic areas:

  • A rich heritage: Black librarian history
  • Celebrating collective and individual identity
  • Black librarians across settings
  • Moving forward: Activism, anti-racism, and allyship

Please join us for this live virtual event, moderated by Joni Floyd, Curator, Maryland & Historical Collections at the University of Maryland and with remarks shared by keondra bills freemyn, Project STAND Coordinator at the University of Maryland and author of a chapter in The Black Librarian in America, as we learn more about Black librarians’ experiences and ways to advance anti-racism, inclusion, and representation in the Library and Information Science (LIS) field and broader society.

Note: The Black Librarian in America: Reflections, Resistance, and Reawakening (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022) is available as an unlimited eBook for current UMD students, faculty, and staff through the UMD Libraries at:


Mrs. Shauntee Burns-Simpson served as the 2020-2022 President of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). She is the Associate Director of the Center for Educators & Schools for the New York Public Library. An ambassador for libraries and youth librarian, Mrs. Simpson enjoys connecting people to the public library and its resources. She works closely with at-risk teens and fosters a love of reading and learning with her innovative programs. In addition to leading BCALA, she chaired ALA’s Committee on Diversity of the American Library Association.

Ms. Nichelle Hayes is the current president of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She has been instrumental in leading the Indianapolis Public Library and also serves on a number of community boards throughout the state of Indiana, including the Indiana Black Librarians Network (IBLN), NAACP, and Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and is a blogger at where she discusses genealogy and keeping families connected.

Dr. Ana Ndumu is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland College Park’s College of Information Studies. Dr. Ndumu primarily researches and teaches on library services to immigrants—particularly, Black diasporic immigrants—along with methods for promoting representation and inclusion in LIS. A former HBCU (historically Black colleges and universities) librarian for over a decade, she is interested in the cross between Black identity, information access, and social inclusion. Dr. Ndumu is also a BCALA executive board member.

Dr. Shaundra Walker is the library director at Georgia College. Dr. Walker has over 22 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 research interests include the recruitment and retention of diverse librarians and organizational development within the library.

Remarks from Chapter Author/Contributor:

keondra bills freemyn is the Project STAND Coordinator at the University of Maryland Libraries and is the author of “Expanding the Black Archival Imagination,” a chapter in The Black Librarian in America. She is a writer, archivist, and digital memory worker, who has worked on archival projects across the humanities, including collections within the Library of Congress, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, New York Public Library, and the People’s Archive at the DC Public Library. She is also a seasoned Wikipedia editor and founder of the Black Women Writers Project, highlighting the contributions of Black women writers to the literary canon.


Dr. Joni Floyd is the curator of (state of) Maryland and Historical Collections for Special Collection and University Archives at the University of Maryland Libraries. She also co-chairs The 1856 Project--UMD’s chapter of Universities Studying Slavery. Intersectionality informs Dr. Floyd’s critical archival work, which focuses on such participatory heritage initiatives as community archives, personal history writing, and collaborative documentation.



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