About the Project Director

Dr. Matthew Griffis is an Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science at The University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg.

Dr. Griffis has spoken about the history of modern libraries and public libraries as social spaces at local, state, national, and international conferences (including four research papers presented at the 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2016 annual conferences of the American Library Association). He has also helped organize conferences and institutes devoted to educating library professionals on the design of effective and responsive library space.

Project Partners

BlackPast.org is a free, open access scholarly reference resource maintained by professional historians of African American history and culture. As its mission statement outlines, the resource “is dedicated to providing the inquisitive public with comprehensive, reliable, and accurate information concerning the history of African Americans in the United States and people of African ancestry in other regions of the world. It is the aim of the founders and sponsors to foster understanding through knowledge in order to generate constructive change in our society.” All materials published on BlackPast.org are peer-reviewed.

The Aquila Digital Community, an open access digital repository created and maintained by The University of Southern Mississippi. Aquila contains all of the scholarly works created by the university’s faculty, staff, and students and hosts digital journals and newsletters published by the University. It also designs and publishes websites that support various research projects by the university’s faculty.

Two other researchers, Dr. Julie Hersberger of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Dr. Eric Platt of the University of Southern Mississippi, will serve as editorial consultants on the book. Hersberger is a former professional librarian and now a professor of libraries and information. She studies, among other things, social networks and relationship building and the information behavior of marginalized and oppressed groups. Her historical work published in 2007 about the segregated Carnegie library in Greensboro, NC serves as a basis of sorts for the proposed project. Platt is an historian of education in the American South. His specializations include three areas relevant for this project: the role of institutions in educational infrastructure; the history of education for specific groups and minorities (religious communities); and the place of informal learning in the daily lives of adults.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (Grant # RE-31-16-0044-16). Note, however, that the views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website (or in any other project-related materials) do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2016. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, its grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow the IMLS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.