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Collection Development @ SJSU Library

Collection Development Policy - African American Studies

Last Updated: 2018

Programs Supported

Selection for this area is designed to support a minor or a bachelor’s degree in African American Studies. The Department’s interdisciplinary curricula include the areas of crime/justice, politics, urbanization, religion, history, sociology/welfare, psychology, gender equality, aesthetics, African history/politics, gender equality, and general education. Undergraduate majors use their knowledge in a variety of careers including health care, education, justice studies related careers and students also use their degrees as a stepping stone towards advanced degrees in a variety of social science, humanities, and science areas.

Existing Resources

The University Library serves as the University’s main resource for this subject.  Materials for the African American Studies areas sit within the general collection of the King Library as well as in the Africana Center collection, located in the Africana, Asian American, Chicano & Native American Studies Center (AAACNA). Considerable overlap exists among many humanities and social sciences disciplines. Given the interdisciplinary nature of this area materials outside of the Africana Center are selected by various selectors, the breath of the general collection is much enhanced. 


Collection coordination is as noted below in section IV.  The interdisciplinary nature of this department makes coordination with other liaisons vital for sufficient coverage for all areas concerning African American studies. The humanities departments, including literature, art, music and history are especially diligent in purchasing materials about the African American experience because those departments will frequently have class offerings individually or in conjunction with the African American Studies Department.

Collection Strengths

Indexes to the literature (print and electronic) and depth of coverage in the Reference Collection, with its subject encyclopedias, demographic works, and handbooks.  In 2008 with the GOBI Approval Plan more U.S. ethnic materials have been added to the Library collection.  This benefited the African American Studies area tremendously given the profile of the plan. In 2017, collections area were given an open budget for materials. Materials purchased for the 2017-2018 academic year, more than doubled, as other liaisons were also not restricted by their purchasing and allow for greater interdisciplinary requests. 

Africana Center Collection

The Africana Center collection plays an important role in fostering scholarship, leadership, innovation and community responsibility among the African American faculty, staff and students at SJSU. In serving those goals, the Africana Center collection is also able to support the research needs of SJSU students in the African American Studies Department.

Evaluation of the Collection

Future objectives for evaluation of the African American Studies collections include:  Continued review of the collections. Extend review of the general collection to other call number areas.

In 2006, one of the future objectives documented was to collect in the areas of slave narratives, black women’s fiction, and history of African Americans in California. As of 2009, these areas have all been developed significantly.  Slave narratives materials have been developed by books along with the subscription of the Africana American Experience database.  In reviewing the catalog for materials, I discovered that there were several audio tapes on black women writers in technical services but not yet available for use – are now available and housed in the Center’s collection. A review of classic women’s literature has also been conducted and materials are being purchased.  One of the class assignments in several courses in different departments is a historical comparative of blacks, Asians, and Mexicans in the U.S. In the last two years materials have also been purchased to provide support for these assignments. [Librarian Kathryn Blackmer Reyes]