HBCU Library Alliance: Gatekeepers for History and Culture

Last Updated on November 22, 2013

The HCBU Library Alliance is an organization dedicated to the preservation of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as well as their libraries. The organization began in 2001, and was formalized with 25 directors and deans in a gathering. Today, the HCBU Library Alliance is comprised of almost 300,000 students, 20,000 faculty members in more than 3,000 majors. Furthermore, it encompasses 100 libraries, in 89 four-year institutions across 22 states. Membership with the HCBU Library Alliance allows you to network with other librarians within the organization, contribute in the strategic development, enjoy training designed for HCBU libraries, and be updated on the latest in programs and activities.

The HCBU Library Alliance currently offers 3 programs: The Cornell Digital Project, the Leadership Program, and the Photographic Preservation Project. The Cornell Digital Project is funded through a grand from Cornell University and is managed by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and is the first in the country to work on creating a digitized framework for HCBU library materials, and address the digitization needs of historically black colleges and universities.

The Leadership  Program is aimed at developing the leadership skills of community members of HCBU within the campus. The program is comprised of various phases that vary depending on the year; with the latest program encompassing participant selection, program development, training, assessment, and creation of a post-program sustainability plan.

The Preservation for Photographic Collections in Historically Black Colleges and Universities is a program created with the partnership of the Southeastern Library Network and the Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware. The program was created with 4 phases: Phase 1 includes staff training in 10 HCBU’s with the latest in photographic preservation, which took place in October 2007. Phase 2 included a consultation with conservation experts so as to determine the specific photographic needs and how to manage priorities. The experts also helped demonstrate an actual photographic preservation project, which was held on February 2008. Phase 3 was about project implementation in 10 HCBU sites, as well as the development and establishment of an environmental monitoring program.  The last phase involved a whole day seminar on photographic preservation, held on October 2008.

The HCBU's strategic direction for the coming years involves a focus on attaining financial sustainability, continuous learning, training, and education, and increased visibility through marketing. More information about HCBU's history and programs can be found by visiting their <a href=”http://www.hbculibraries.org” title=”HBCU Library Alliance” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”>website</a>.

Photo Credit: HBCU Library Alliance

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