Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Africana Collection

The Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies is the largest of its kind. There is no greater or more complete collection of African works anywhere. This library houses everything from original documents to baseball caps and aprons featuring Nelson Mandela.The library holds over 260,000 bound volumes, including 5000 rare documents that are non-circulating. It also receives over 3000 journals, newspapers and periodicals.A unique aspect of the African Studies Library is that it has a rather extensive collection of HIV/AIDS posters and other related press. Being that HIV/AIDS is such a huge problem in Africa, the Melville J. Herskovits Library has put a great deal of importance on the education about AIDS and safe sex in Africa. They have recently organized an exhibit of HIV/AIDS posters; you can view a video of these posters accompanied by Ugandan music at:
http://bb.elmhurst.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab=courses&url=/bin/common/course.pl?course_id=_1551_1
Another recent project of the African Studies Library, along with other branches of the library was to digitize 113 original maps of Africa from 16th -20th centuries. They can be seen at:
http://digital.library.northwestern.edu/
This library is open to the public; anyone can access these materials upon request. As well, the librarians at the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies answer questions via phone and internet all the time.
Check out the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies at:

www.northwestern.edu/african-studies/

Kaia

7 comments:

Jessica said...

The kind of stuff they had in this special collection was just amazing. I really loved how into his work the librarian was, I think it added a lot. His interest in it definitely made me more interested.

Liz said...

I agree with Jessica; the enthusiasm of the Africana librarian made the entire space very engaging. I loved all of the materials that he presented to us, like the posters, albums, tapestries etc. They added so much to the already extensive amount of literature in the library. I've really enjoyed the special/specific collections that we've seen thus far, because so much time and effort is generated into one subject. The result is an incredibly thorough research library.

Maria said...

I had no idea that Northwestern even had an Africana library...let alone the largest! I was very surprised when we visited that section, but it was also very interesting and the books and video chosen by the librarian taught me a lot in those few minutes we spent there.

Jenn said...

I liked that we got to view samples of the Africana collection; I especially liked seeing the cart with Nelson Mandela objects like a purse, watch, and apron. It was interesting to hear that the library has collectors in Africa who send books and materials back to the library. I also liked that the Africana Library has text in many different languages. It is amazing to hear that Northwestern has the most extensive collection of African books and materials.

mercedez091 said...

This is one of my favorite visits. I really feel that the librarian was very connected to his collection. I loved seeing how excited he was to show us all the wonderful things he had. I made the visit very interesting.

David B. said...

Very cool that they have this library. The topic is definitely an underdeveloped one and it is good to see that it is getting the proper attention somewhere.

Monica.S said...

The Africana collection was my favorite part of the Northwestern visit, hands down. Our guide was just so enthusiastic and he let us look around at everything. I loved his presentation, and we should have spent more time in that room.