Public libraries in the State of Wisconsin in the US are growing their African literature collection, a trend that we are very excited about. For example, Menomonee Falls public library recently updated its African books collection with titles such as Jumoke Verissimo’s A Small Silence, Masande Ntshanga’s Triagulum, Leila Aboulela’s Bird Summons, Nnedi Okorafor’s Ikenga, Olukotun’s After the Flare, Igoni Barrett’s Blackass, and so much more. They were able to do this through the Read Africa program launched by the University of Wisconsin-Madison African Studies Program (ASP). And the fun little detail is that Brittle Paper had something to do with it.
Earlier this year in March, the African Studies Program asked libraries across the state “to submit proposals to purchase books and materials that will enable Wisconsin readers to deepen their understanding of Africa.” As you may know, Brittle Paper’s Editor-in-Chief is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, holding a joint appointment in the English Department and the African Cultural Studies Department. With the assistance of PhD student Vincent Ogoti, she worked with ASP to curate a book list to guide the participating libraries with their acquisitions of African books. The list of over 150 books spans decades, genres and themes. Libraries were invited to use the list, in addition to the Children’s Africana Book Awards List to guide them in their purchases.
It is deeply gratifying to see libraries all over the state using our African Books List to update their collection. 34 libraries received the award and have gone on to enrich their readers’ experience with African books. Beloit Library, for example, added 16 new books to their collection. Of the 16 books, 6 are poetry collection that came from our list: This is How We Disappear by Titilope Sonuga, Un-American by Hafizah Geter, Deluge by Leila Chatti, Modern Sudanese Poetry: An Anthology, Your Body is War by Mahtem Shiferraw, ‘Mamaseko by Thabile Makue, andThe Careless Seamstress by Tjawangwa Dema.
Menomonee Falls Library mentioned earlier shared photos on Instagram of the newly acquired African books with the caption:
We are excited to announce that we are recipients of the UW-Madison African Studies Program’s Read Africa Grant. The Library has been awarded funding to purchase materials to enrich our collections with new titles that will enable readers to deepen their understanding of Africa.
New book alert! We processed a second batch of books we bought with funds from the UW-Madison African Studies Program Read Africa Grant! We are so happy to have these new titles added to our collection to enable readers to deepen their understanding of Africa.
Here are some of the photos they shared.