Collection Development - Africana Studies

Collections Librarian: Graham Henderson (x3514)

The collection development policy for Africana Studies guides the development and management of Africana Studies materials in the Wellesley College Library. This policy is for use by the Wellesley College community and the Africana Studies collections librarian. Faculty and students are encouraged to provide recommendations for library materials.

General purpose of the collection

Africana Studies materials in the Wellesley College Library support the Africana Studies department curriculum. The materials provide for undergraduate study, faculty instruction, and basic faculty research.

The Africana Studies collection supports each of the three major tracks in the Africana Studies major-Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States.

The Africana Studies curriculum provides students with an interdisciplinary exposure to the experiences of Africana people, past and present. Through courses in history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, religion and the creative arts (especially literature), students examine the African world and the relationship between Africana people and the larger world system. As such, the Africana Studies collection contains works in history, sociology, anthropology, political science, and literature. In addition, since the curriculum is heavily focused on the Caribbean and the African Diaspora, the collection draws on collections in other Wellesley College departments such as English, History, Sociology, Anthropology, and Political Science.

Formats in the Africana Studies collection include books, periodicals, electronic resources, and video recordings. The majority of these circulate to students, faculty, and staff.

Description of the collection

1. Readership level: The Africana Studies collection consists primarily of works written for the advanced undergraduate level and for basic faculty research. Graduate- and research-level publications are collected selectively.

2. Languages collected or excluded: The majority of the collection are English-language, although the collection contains a number of French titles.

3. Geographical areas covered by the collections in terms of intellectual content, publication sources, or both, and specific areas excluded, as appropriate: The majority of acquisitions cover the geographical areas of Africa, the United States, and the Caribbean. Other geographic areas are acquired selectively.

4. Chronological periods collected in terms of publication dates, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate: The collection emphasizes current material, with the primary purpose of supporting faculty and student research and coursework. Older imprints are acquired selectively, usually as replacements for classic works, or at the specific request of a student or faculty member.

5. Chronological periods covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content, movement, or schools: All chronological periods are included.

Reference: Reference material for Africana Studies is purchased by the Africana Studies collections librarian for Research and Instruction and follows the general subject parameters of the Africana Studies collections policy. The scope includes, but is not limited to, the following types of material: biographies, dictionaries/thesauri/nomenclature aids, encyclopedias, style and/or literature guides, and occasional electronic search aids and directories which support curricular or related professional programs.

General subject boundaries and library locations

Africana Studies materials are housed in Clapp Library.

1. Special Subject Emphases: Traditionally, the Africana Studies collection has emphasized African American cultural studies: literature, history, education, biographies of African Americans, past and present, the African Diaspora, African American religion, sociology of African Americans, materials relating to African American women.

2. Current Collecting Priorities: In addition to African American cultural studies, priority is given to materials on peoples of African descent in the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America.

3. Subjects Collected Selectively: Materials on peoples of African descent in Europe and other areas of the world not listed above.

Related subjects and interdisciplinary relationships

American Studies: The American Studies collections librarian supplements the Africana Studies collection by selecting materials pertaining to African-American culture and history.

Anthropology: The Anthropology collections librarian selects materials pertaining to physical anthropology, social anthropology, and archaeology of Africa and the Caribbean.

Art: The Art collections librarian selects materials pertaining to the art of Africa and the Caribbean.

Economics: The Economics collections librarian selects materials pertaining to the economic aspects of Africa and the Caribbean.

English: The English collections librarian selects materials pertaining to African-American literature.

History: The History collections librarian selects materials pertaining to historical aspects of Africa and the Caribbean.

Music: The Music collections librarian selects materials pertaining to the music of Africa and the Caribbean.

Philosophy: The Philosophy collections librarian selects materials pertaining to philosophers and philosophical aspects of Africa and the Caribbean.

Psychology: The Psychology collections librarian selects materials pertaining to psychological aspects of Africa and the Caribbean.

Political Science: The Political Science collections librarian selects materials pertaining to the political aspects of Africa and the Caribbean.

Religion: In conjunction with the Africana Studies collections librarian, the Religion collections librarian selects materials pertaining to religions and religious life in Africa and the Caribbean.

Sociology: The Sociology collections librarian selects materials pertaining to sociological studies of Africa and the Caribbean.

    Types of materials

    Collected: Books, periodicals, and reference works, including encyclopedias, biographical and subject-specific dictionaries, handbooks, and almanacs.

    Collected Selectively: Conference proceedings, multi-media publications, spoken-word recordings, electronic resources, dissertations, foreign-language monographs, research-level monographs, foreign-language periodicals, and videos and DVDs (Region 1 DVD is the preferred formats for video materials. Region 2/PAL videorecordings are acquired when this is the only format available).

    Not Collected: Textbooks, foreign-language dissertations, single or discrete issues of periodicals, vanity press publications, non-journal microforms, and 16mm or 35mm films.

    Other on-campus or local resources

    Harambee House

    Boston University Libraries African Studies Library