USMAI Library Consortium

Blog from June, 2020

Congratulations to the Earl S. Richardson Library at Morgan State University (MSU) and the Frederick Douglass Library at University of Maryland, Eastern Shore (UMES) on winning FY2020 Institute of Library and Museum Sciences (IMLS) grants through the Museum Grants for African American History and Culture (AAHC) program.

Morgan State University's grant will go towards "implement[ing] a comprehensive interpretive project based on archival collections documenting the life and work of Ellen Irene Diggs, the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in anthropology." This project, described below, is among those highlighted in IMLS's recent press release

Morgan State University will implement a comprehensive interpretive project based on archival collections documenting the life and work of Ellen Irene Diggs, the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in anthropology. Multiple university departments will collaborate to organize and analyze the collections. The project team of staff and consultants will implement an internship program for more than 40 undergraduate and graduate students and volunteers, focusing on archival research, preservation, and anthropology. Project activities will include the enhancement of public access to the collections through an online exhibit, student posters, and panels as part of the 117th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. A professional development program including workshops and instructional materials will engage 90 teachers, resulting in enhanced curricula in humanities and social studies for over 400 K-12 students in each year of the project.

The University of Maryland, Eastern Shore's grant will go toward "enhanc[ing] its identity as a historically black, land grant institution by improving the care and accessibility of archival collections housed in the Special Collections Department of the Frederick Douglass Library."

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore will enhance its identity as a historically black, land grant institution by improving the care and accessibility of archival collections housed in the Special Collections Department of the Frederick Douglass Library. The project director will recruit three student interns, who will receive stipends to assist with creating an inventory and cataloging priority record groups, providing library patrons access to organized archival material accompanied by finding aids. The university will purchase supplies to rehouse the materials, and the project team will create both physical and digital exhibitions on the project to support faculty and student learning. Project activities will include a workshop for faculty, a student symposium, and a faculty reading circle to further promote teaching and learning opportunities with the collections. Selected faculty will share experiences with their peers through attendance and presentations at conferences.

Read more about the planned work in UMES's June 5th press release.

This year, IMLS awarded more than $2.7 million in AAHC grants to 22 institutions. Eight of the 22 grants went to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including USMAI Library Consortium members MSU and UMES. 

The anticipated deadline for FY2021 grant applications is November 16, 2020. More info about applying for an AAHC grant is available here: https://www.imls.gov/grants/available/museum-grants-african-american-history-and-culture.


CLAS is joining with our UMD Libraries colleagues and others across the University of Maryland, College Park campus in a movement to #ShutDownAcademia and #ShutDownSTEM today, June 10th.

Today, we will replace our "business as usual" activities with dedicated time for reflection, education, and taking, or planning, action to combat racism.

This means that, for today, we will forego our work on service requests, projects, meetings, and other "normal" activities. Rest assured, we will return tomorrow more emboldened to pursue our craft with fresh perspectives and ideas.

In the coming weeks, CLAS will discuss how, as professionals and a team, we can combat racism. If you have thoughts or ideas about ways in which we might do this, I would love to hear them.



The "Collections (Current)" and "BIBs and HOLs (Current)" reporting topics have been refreshed with data that is current as of June 1. All reports run in the Reporting Environment will now include the refreshed data set.

The next data refresh will take place in early July.

Visit the Data Warehouse web page and read the Data Warehouse Reporting Environment User Guide to learn more about the Data Warehouse and running your own reports.

USMAI Library Consortium's Executive Director Chuck Thomas distributed the following message to all staff at USMAI Member Libraries via Campus Contacts yesterday, June 3, 2020:


To All Staff in USMAI Member Libraries:

The leaders of the University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions are simultaneously shocked, heartbroken and angered by the events of the past week.

In a May 28th statement, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) condemned the unjustified and brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and subsequent events as “the latest in a long line of recent and historical violence against Black people in the United States.” On Monday, the ALA Executive Board joined in solidarity with BCALA and with all library workers, library users, and members of the communities that libraries support who are susceptible to acts of prejudice, threats of violence, and even death based solely on their race or ethnicity. They reminded us that “the pervasive racism present in our nation denies its residents equal rights and equal access and as such is a barrier to the goals of this association and to the wider profession.” ALA called upon the wider library community to join BCALA in condemning these injustices, and in “working not only responsively, but also preemptively, to eradicate racism anywhere and everywhere it exists.” USMAI joins in that call.

Several weeks ago, the USMAI Library Consortium approved and released a Statement of Purpose, Guiding Principles, and Strategic Priorities. One core Guiding Principle is:

“Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are fundamental values of the consortium and its members and are reflected in both the internal operations of each organization and in the resources and services provided to all users.”

The events of the past week are a reminder that we cannot assume these values are universally supported. As individuals and as a united group of institutions, , we must speak and act against hatred and racism. We must work to support and safeguard our vulnerable friends and co-workers within our own libraries, and throughout the communities we serve. We must seek social justice.

The USMAI Council of Library Directors and the consortium's staff express to all member library faculty and staff our continuing commitment to diversity and inclusion. We share the sorrow felt across the nation at this moment, and we offer help and support to all members of vulnerable minority groups. As a group, our organizations encourage those of you who may feel threatened or troubled to come to us if you need support. We encourage all staff to consider ways our libraries and our consortium can confront these threats to our society. Our library faculty and staff are our greatest assets. We will continue to support all of you in ways which reflect the shared values of our profession, and align with the missions and goals of our member institutions and campuses.

Thank you for your continuing work on behalf of our libraries and USMAI.

Chuck Thomas
Executive Director, USMAI Library Consortium
Tel: 202-651-1921
Email: cthomas@usmd.edu