January 22, 2022

New Resources: “Purdue Librarian Establishes First Black Literature Box”

From the The Lafayette Journal & Courier:

2016-11-02_08-01-51As a Purdue University librarian, recommending books to students and community members is part of Jamillah Gabriel’s every day.

Now, Gabriel will be working to connect readers across the country with literature written exclusively by black authors.

Gabriel is launching a monthly literature subscription box, called Call Number, a nod to her profession. Subscription boxes are a recent trend — for a flat rate, subscribers receive a monthly parcel with anything from makeup to snacks or, in this case, books.

“The motivation is to promote black literature,” Gabriel, who works at Purdue’s Black Cultural Center Library, said. “The publishing industry is not diverse. There are not that many writers of color and the ones that they are published don’t get the press white authors do.”

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Much More Direct For Purdue University:

Gabriel was inspired to create Call Number after realizing the need for access to more diverse books.

“These days there is a subscription box service for just about anything: fitness products, beauty products, even razors. However, after reviewing many literary subscription box sites I realized there were no book subscription boxes that highlighted black literature,” said Gabriel who holds a Bachelor of Arts in black studies and journalism from California State University and a Masters of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. “The lack of diversity in the publishing industry also spurred my decision to test the waters of entrepreneurship in an endeavor that would promote diverse literature in an easily accessible way.”

Gabriel said Call Number shows an appreciation for libraries and helps subscribers build and organize their personal libraries with distinctive touches.

“Being a professional librarian gave me a breadth of experience in selecting books for libraries and a deep knowledge of black literature and authors. This has given me a unique ability to personally select each book from a myriad of contemporary black authors,” she said. “Not only do the boxes include a current book, it will also include four to five curated items that mirror prominent themes in the featured book as well as catalog cards and spine labels that come with each book to help users build their own collection of black literature.”

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.