Africana Center opens up library to community
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 08:10
The Africana Center this fall launched a Book Sign−Out program after taking the time over the past few months to catalogue their large assortment of books, which now serves as a library open to anyone in the Tufts community.
Director of the Africana Center Katrina Moore said that the idea for the library came from the Africana Center’s extensive collection of resources.
“The collection of books was here, but we had no formal way of sharing that, so it is important to do an inventory so we know what we have and share them with the students,” Moore said.
Students can sign out books from the Africana Center front desk for up to a week at time and check the library’s inventory online at LibraryThing.com.
“It is a pretty easy system,” sophomore Ricario Phillips, who works at the Africana Center, said. “[The catalog] tells you the location and the availability of the book, and it is always open so you can add books whenever.”
The center welcomes book donations from the community, according to Denise Phillips, coordinator of programs and special projects at the Africana Center.
“I have been here for awhile, and I have seen how students like to give back in terms of their peers and in terms of their resources,” she said. “We have always been sort of a deposit for students — graduating seniors, mainly. A lot of the books are from former students who have graduated and want to share, as well as alumni and speakers that come to the Africana Center.”
Moore explained that a majority of the books are about the African diaspora, adding that she is interested in collecting a canon of black classics so that every student on campus will have easy access to such a selection.”
The catalogue currently represents a diverse base of subjects, according to Phillips.
“When you think about culture, you can’t limit it in any particular way,” she said. “I think that what we offer is a wide range.”
Both Phillips and Moore said that they see the Africana Center not only as a cultural center and a resource, but also as location that fosters a sense of community.
“By students coming to use the center as a resource, it does create a community, so it serves as a combination of resources,” Phillips said.
Phillips also explained that in light of rising textbook prices, the Book Sign−Out Program will provide students with a cheaper means of accessing books for their coursework.
“The more resources we have available, the more willing people will be to use it,” Ricario Phillips said. “Whether you did or didn’t know we had a library, the formalized system helps ease [students] into relying on [the Africana Center] more as a resource.”