In 1970 a group of Black Librarians met to address the problems resulting from widespread racism in their profession. The problems fell into two major categories: Libraries in Black communities were most often inaccessible, had neglected facilities, and had inadequate staffing and resources. It was increasingly evident that minority communities were being left behind in accessing the avalanche of information so indispensable in a rapidly changing technological society.
Blatant restrictions consistently blocked the Black Librarians' professional advancement. The group members that met over 50 years ago decided to take collective action. They founded an organization and named it the Black Librarians' Caucus of Queens, NY, since most of its members lived or worked in that borough. The problems that this group rallied around were so persuasive that librarians from the greater New York area soon joined the founding members. In 1975, the organization's name was changed to the New York Black Librarian's Caucus Inc (NYBLC).
Today, the Caucus is still a thriving, vital organization. It is the oldest affiliate of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). The NYBLC charter pre-dates the formation of BCALA. The organization strongly advocates for quality library services in all communities, broad professional opportunities for Black Librarians, bridging the Digital Divide, and other essential issues. Two annual scholarships are the Hoke- Geathers- Mohammad Memorial Scholarship for at least two Black graduate students pursuing their Library Science degree and the Andrew P. Jackson Scholarship for current undergraduate students.
Coming this summer (2022), Looking Back: Moving Forward commemorates 50 years of NYBLC.
This is our history: Looking Back and Moving Forward historical documentation of the fifty -years of New York Black Librarians’ Caucus change-making vibrant contribution to libraries and the field of Library Science. The book highlights the illustrious careers of several black librarians’ contributions to the field E. Cynthia Jenkins, NY State Assemblywomen, 1992 elected and a Founder of NYBLC, and Dr. Lucille Cole Thomas, 1st African American President of the New York Library Association (NYLA) to name a few of our trailblazers.