September 3, 2020
Black Cultural Center’s library receives grant to expand community resources
Note to journalists: Photos of the Black Cultural Center are available for media use via Google Drive. Journalists visiting campus should follow visitor health guidelines. For phone or web-based conference interviews of program participants and administrators, please contact Matthew Oates.
The Advancing Racial Equity Collection Development grant allows for the purchase of new materials related to issues of race, diversity and inclusion. The new materials will support the center’s ongoing educational efforts, including coordinating public workshops and assisting student research, while helping meet an increased public demand for guidance in areas of racial justice.
Ula Gaha, BCC librarian, said she’s been surprised by the number of people who have contacted the center for help building reading lists, including staff at the West Lafayette Public Library.
“We are seeing so many book groups pop up, not only on campus but in the greater Lafayette community,” she said.
“I feel very strongly that books are a great place to start, but members of these groups need to take responsibility for discussing aspects of the material that people will find uncomfortable” said Gaha, who hopes the expanded collection will lead to discourse on systemic racism and racial injustice in ways that will result in concrete, positive actions toward racial equity. "This grant also allows me to order digital copies of existing print books as e-books so more people have access to these materials, which is so critical – especially during the pandemic.”
Purchasing plans include a variety of print and electronic materials, including film and audio. One focus will be on the already impressive collection of children’s books. Gaha said expanding juvenile literature helps both children who visit the library and future educators studying at Purdue.
“Students often have to look at and write about children’s books, so I think that expanding our collection of children’s literature is only going to help create educators with a more diversely trained background,” she said.
The BCC, a physical showcase of Black culture through African-inspired architecture and art, is open to the public during designated hours. Library cards are available to Indiana residents and Purdue affiliates. The BCC Library currently holds over 7,000 items relevant to the Black experience, not including subscriptions and online resources.
The Advancing Racial Equity Collection Development award was created in response to surging activist efforts following the killing of George Floyd. This program has made possible through a grant from Indiana Humanities with funds from Lilly Endowment Inc.
According to Indiana Humanities’ website, the grant is meant to “help Hoosiers think, read and talk about racial injustice and systemic racism and to support libraries as key public humanities organizations in this work.” The state nonprofit created a list of approved materials with the advice of librarians and humanities scholars and under the review of the Indianapolis Public Library’s Center for Black Literature & Culture.
About Purdue University
Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.
Writer: Christy McCarter
Media contact: Matthew Oates, 765-586-7496 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org, @mo_oates
Source: Ula Gaha, email@example.com
Journalists visiting campus: Journalists should follow Protect Purdue protocols and the following guidelines:
- Campus is open, but the number of people in spaces may be limited. We will be as accommodating as possible, but you may be asked to step out or report from another location.
- To enable access, particularly to campus buildings, we recommend you contact the Purdue News Service media contact listed on the release to let them know the nature of the visit and where you will be visiting. A News Service representative can facilitate safe access and may escort you on campus.
- Correctly wear face masks inside any campus building, and correctly wear face masks outdoors when social distancing of at least six feet is not possible.