What to expect at the Library in spring 2021


Spring 2021 at UVA is shaping up to be very similar to fall and, as ever, the Library is here to help. Here are some basics for ways to get what you need…  and when in doubt Ask a Librarian!

Information below should be applicable for most, if not all, of spring semester, but it’s true that events like severe weather or COVID precautions may change Library operations in unanticipated ways. Bookmark the Status Dashboard for to-the-moment updates, all semester long.

Access to Collections

Most importantly… Start with Virgo! If an item is digital, the link is in Virgo. If the item is physical, Virgo is where you make a request.

Stacks will remain closed to the public for spring semester. This enables us to continue to offer millions of digital items through the HathiTrust ETAS service — available from anywhere!

  • To access Library materials, start your search in Virgo.
    • For most items, if they aren’t available online, they’re available for pickup! Find your item in Virgo, make a request, and you’ll get an email when it’s ready. You can it pick up any time during business hours. It’s like library takeout!
  • Pickup is available at Brown and Clemons for all members of the UVA community, and faculty and graduate students can also request “LEO Mobile”, which delivers to the Central Grounds Parking Garage. You’ll specify your pickup location at the time you make your request.
  • Unfortunately, LEO delivery to departments will not be available this semester because of departmental limitations.
  • Interlibrary Loan is functional, but the number of institutions able to participate is limited.
  • Special Collections is offering reference support through their Online Reference Request form, and UVA students, faculty, and staff can sign up for in-person research by appointment.

Access to Spaces

A bright open space with desks and a reminder on the floor to retain social distanceBeginning February 1, Brown and Clemons study spaces are open! Bring your mask and your UVA ID to study, ask questions, and enjoy socially-distanced camaraderie.

Library stacks will not open to the public in spring 2021.

The fine print…

  • Unfortunately, NO FOOD or drinks (except a personal water bottle) are allowed in Library spaces, to minimize potential COVID exposure.
  • Carry your UVA ID when you’re on Grounds. You’ll need it for most UVA spaces, and at the library you’ll need to show it at the door — no exceptions.
  • Masks MUST be worn at all times when indoors.
  • Library spaces will shut down as needed for non-compliance in accordance with the safety guidelines above.
  • Occupancy limits are in place and, for safety’s sake, we cannot allow more patrons through the door when a building reaches capacity.

Getting Help

The most important thing to know is that we want to help! Ask a Librarian, and they’ll find what you need or connect you to a person who can.


  • Subject Liaisons are a powerful resource for subject-specific assistance. Liaisons can help you brainstorm methods for alternative access, help secure much-needed research materials, and connect you to resources for your classroom. They know all of the tricks of the trade! Find your subject liaison now.
  • Our staff is fully available to you, even if we’re working remotely. Scholars’ Lab, Research and Data Services, and so many more, are at the ready. Not sure where to start? Ask a Librarian!
  • The Teaching and Learning team can provide classroom support for specialized sessions, A/V needs, pedagogical support, and much more. Reach out to teachlearn@virginia.edu to learn more.

There’s still time to try an RMC Creative Challenge — and congrats to our first winner, Deanna Sea!

The Robertson Media Center (RMC) in Clemons Library is sponsoring a series of creative challenges, and it’s not too late to enter. The RMC Creative Challenges provide step-by-step instructions for media projects, no experience required! Once you’ve tried it out, submit your entry on social media with the hashtag #RMCcreate and get a chance to win!

The April-May RMC Creative Challenge is now open — “Augmented Reality in Spark AR.” Try it out today: bit.ly/rmccreate

Winner announced!

The first Creative Challenge ended in March, and we send a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated!

Young woman smiles while holding bright green textured trophy and beige tote bag

Special congratulations to Deanna Sea, the winner of the Best Design Award! Her project will be featured on Library social media, and her prizes include a Best Design Award 3D printed trophy, an RMC handmade tote bag, and a digital badge to display on social media.

This is what Deanna said about joining the first challenge:

“I joined the challenge because I’m a Photoshop novice and wanted to learn a new skill. RMC’s tutorials were super easy to follow and I was surprised we could create motion graphics on Photoshop in such a short time! Thanks RMC for organizing these challenges :)”

And a judge’s comment:

“Well executed video, with good typography, sense of scale and timing. Cleanly cut out, and smoothly animated. Good job!”

You can see Deanna’s entry on YouTube.

VIVA Anti-Racism Webinar Series explores systemic racism in library practices

The following was contributed by Jennifer Roper, Director of Digital Strategies and co-chair of the VIVA Anti-Racism Task Force.

This February, VIVA, Virginia’s Academic Library Consortium, launched a new webinar series intent on tackling the topic of building anti-racist practices into library work. The webinar series is a direct actionable response to the VIVA Anti-Racism statement issued in June 2020. A task force comprised of individuals from a number of VIVA institutions, including UVA Library, was appointed in Fall 2020 to develop and implement the series as one action to foster an anti-racism culture within member organizations. The task force is co-chaired by Carmelita Pickett, Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources & Content Strategy, and Jennifer Roper, Director of Digital Strategies, both of UVA Library.

White supremacy and the structures that inherently support white supremacy pose a threat to equity everywhere. The goal of this webinar series is to build community through conversation, creating a space where people can talk through their projects, engage with scholars, and learn what libraries could and should be like if in fact libraries value diversity, equity, and inclusion. Further information about the series is available on the VIVA website.


Elaine Westbrooks

The first webinar focused on Leadership, and Elaine Westbrooks, Vice Provost of University Libraries and University Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was the keynote speaker. Westbrooks, who assumed her current role in 2017, provided a brief overview of the events that led her to analyze the work of her organization and take radical action to halt the effects of systemic racism on the overall practice.

She suggested 5 broad steps framing her approach:

  • Acknowledge the existence of systemic racism and oppression in library practices.
  • Account for what has happened and accept responsibility for the present and future.
  • Shift to focus on equity in all aspects of the organization and its work.
  • Create an environment where race and white supremacy are discussed openly.
  • Create a culture of learning and growing together.

Westbrooks’ talk was powerful, and she engaged with the audience in a robust Q&A session after her prepared remarks. This keynote address and Q&A session were recorded and are now available on the VIVA website.

Following the keynote address was a discussion panel in which Westbrooks joined a group of VIVA institution librarians discussing their day-to-day work and projects that actively pursue anti-racist practices. Participants provided an overview of their work as practical examples and demonstrated how leadership in this arena can exist at different levels within organizational structure. Additionally, participants discussed their motivation for pursuing the work and how the work affects them as individuals and professionals. Q&A with the panel yielded greater detail on the projects and the personal cost and benefit to deconstructing existing practices in favor of anti-racist approaches.

In closing, the VIVA task force presented guidelines for beginning conversations at individual institutions. There will be further webinars in the series, with future webinars having a focus on topics such as LIS Programs and LIS Faculty of Color, Collections, Metadata, and Technology.

Read more about the Anti-Racism Webinar Series and watch the webinar now.

Bradley Daigle appointed Executive Director of the Academic Preservation Trust

The Academic Preservation Trust (http://aptrust.org) announced today that Bradley J. Daigle will become the consortium’s executive director on March 25, 2021. APTrust is an institutional-membership organization working together on the unique challenges of preserving rapidly increasing amounts of digital scholarly and cultural-heritage materials for future generations. At present, the consortium has 16 higher-education members that have deposited some 156 terabytes of digital content in the preservation repository first built by their collaboration in 2014.

Photo of Bradley Daigle, with goatee and glasses, smiling, wearing blue collared shirt and standing in front of shelves of books“Bradley is known at national and international levels for his contributions in digital preservation practice,” said Winston Tabb, the APTrust governing board chair who is Sheridan Dean of University Libraries and Museums at Johns Hopkins University. “His recent work leading a National Digital Stewardship Alliance team that updated a core resource in that practice — the ‘Levels of Digital Preservation’ — is great evidence of his readiness to guide APTrust in coming years.”

The new full-time role of executive director was created by merging the two formerly part-time roles of program director, previously held by Chip German who is retiring in May, and of content and strategy expert, previously held by Daigle. The executive director is accountable to the APTrust governing board and reports to board member John Unsworth, who as Dean of Libraries and University Librarian at the University of Virginia oversees hosting of the APTrust consortium at his institution. APTrust staff are UVA employees.

“Bradley is a long-time UVA librarian who has been working on APTrust since its birth as an idea more than a decade ago,” Unsworth said. “APTrust is fortunate to have someone with his combination of passion and experience at the helm as it heads into its next phase.”

Bradley Daigle has been actively immersed in digital preservation since 2008, recently leading a team that won the Digital Preservation Coalition’s International Council on Archives Digital Preservation Award for Collaboration and Cooperation. Currently he also leads the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Service Hub, Digital Virginias. A librarian for more than 20 years, he has published and presented on a wide range of topics including mass digitization, digital curation and stewardship, sustaining digital scholarship, intellectual property issues, mentoring in libraries, and digital preservation. He received his MA in literature from the University of Montréal and an MLS from Catholic University.

Kick off Women’s History Month with some great reads

Seeking more titles to stoke the ever-burning flames of your mind and heart? Look no further. Here are five diverse titles written by women to highlight Women’s History Month. Whether it’s satire, poetry, fiction, or memoir, there’s something here for you. These recommendations come from Katrina Spencer, your Librarian for African American and African Studies. For more titles that study the themes of feminism, gender, and/or sexuality, contact Erin Pappas and review the Library’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality research guide.

""How To Rent A Negro“, damali ayo (2005)

Priceless satire befitting our sociocultural moment, “How to Rent a Negro” derisively presents the absurdities of interracial politics and the commodification of racialized bodies. This work is for every Black person who finds themselves “the only” in either professional or social situations and also for those who call on them to represent an entire body of people.

""salt“, Nayyirah Waheed (2013)

Some of the most intimate and touching poetry I have ever read, Waheed’s debut collection, salt, explores the distance, disconnection, amnesias, and longings many Blacks of the Americas feel in relation to Africa. Both potent and arresting, salt stylistically represents Instagram’s sparse poetry movement in which saying less is more.

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston (1937)

A staple in African American literature courses, Hurston’s fiction novel shook the foundations of early 20th century gender norms. Her protagonist, Janie, explores autonomy in a world in which Black women had been owned like chattel and had endured secondary, subordinate roles within their marriages. Try out Ruby Dee’s exquisite audiobook narration of this classic.

An American Marriage“, Tayari Jones (2019)

What is expected of a wife whose innocent husband is locked away for a heinous crime he did not commit? Heavily southern, Jones’ work speaks to the haunting injustices that plague our penal systems and unduly punish not only Black men but also those who love them. This novel begs for a cinematic adaptation.

Becoming“, Michelle Obama (2018)

You remember FLOTUS extraordinaire Michelle Obama: the Ivy league-trained attorney who mentored a young Barack Obama at a law firm? Yes, her. In “Becoming,” she shares intimate stories of her upbringing in Chicago, feelings of uncertainty during her education and career, and her 8-year residency within the most recognizable home in the nation.

New Library online resources explore the African American press and African studies

The Library has added two exciting new resources to its A-Z Database list! African American Newspapers, Series I and II, and Africa-Wide Information are now available to scholars researching African American History and African Studies.

The African American Press, Series I and II

Part of the Readex collection of America’s Historical Newspapers, “African American Newspapers, Series I-II, 1827-1998” draws from extensive archives in more than 35 states, the American Antiquarian Society, Center for Research Libraries, the Library of Congress, and New York Public Library to bring you history as it unfolded in the pages of 335 U.S. newspaper titles, beginning with “Freedom’s Journal” (NY) — the first African American newspaper published in the United States. Other titles include “The Colored Citizen” (KS), “Arkansas State Press,” “Rights of All” (NY), “Wisconsin Afro-American,” “New York Age,” “L’Union” (LA), “Northern Star and Freeman’s Advocate” (NY), “Richmond Planet,” “Cleveland Gazette,” “The Appeal” (MN), and hundreds more.

Selections were guided by James Danky, editor of the monumental “African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography.” They offer insights into cultural, literary, and social history; ethnic studies; and much more:

  • Enslavement and the spread of abolitionism.
  • Growth of the Black church.
  • Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Jim Crow Era.
  • Migration to northern cities, to the West and Midwest.
  • Rise of the NAACP.
  • Harlem Renaissance.
  • Civil Rights movement.
  • Political and economic empowerment.
  • Contemporary perspectives on historic figures such as Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Obituaries, advertisements, editorials, illustrations.

Africa-Wide Information

Africa-Wide Information takes you to the EBSCO search screen where you can find source information on literature about the African continent from 4 million records, many with full text, compiled by the National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) from 50 databases in Africa, Europe, and North America, covering literature from the 16th century to the present.

Africa-Wide Information documents comprehensive, multidisciplinary research by Africans about Africa — articles, books, reports, theses, and grey literature published outside the usual publishing channels. Records include abstracts and some full-text articles with keyword indexing to enhance relevant retrieval. “Africa-Wide Information” is an essential resource for scholars interested in African research and publications, no matter the subject field, from all 56 African countries and surrounding islands.

Topics include:

  • Agriculture
  • Art
  • Biodiversity
  • Cultural history and heritage
  • Development
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • Health
  • Industry
  • Legal systems
  • Literature
  • Music
  • Natural resources
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Sport, and more.

Celebrate Black History Month with the HistoryMakers Digital Archive!

This February, the Library is celebrating Black History Month with several articles taken from interviews of influential figures in the HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Today the focus is on two figures in politics: United States Congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon, John Lewis, and United States Congresswoman from California, Maxine Waters.

See the complete interviews with John Lewis and Maxine Waters in the HistoryMakers Digital Archive!

The Honorable John Lewis (1940-2020)

Civil rights leader and U.S. congressman John Lewis (1940-2020) was a lifelong activist. At the time of his death, he had been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. Often referred to as the “conscience of the Congress,” Lewis was one of the “Big Six” of the Civil Rights Movement (with Martin Luther King, Jr., A. Philip Randolph, Whitney Young, James Farmer, and Roy Wilkins). In 1963, he met with President Kennedy to discuss the planning of the “March on Washington,” and in 1965, Lewis and fellow activist Hosea Williams led “Bloody Sunday”, one of the most dramatic nonviolent protests of the civil rights movement.

By the time John Lewis was four, his father had saved 300 dollars, enough to buy 110 acres near Troy, AL, and the family moved into a “tin top house surrounded by pecan trees.” Although they were no longer tenant farmers, poverty forced the family to continue farming on shares, renting other land and sharing half of what they produced with the landowner. Lewis practiced for the ministry by preaching to chickens and is convinced “that most of those chickens … tended to listen to me better than some of my colleagues [in Congress]. At least they produced eggs.” In order to go to school, he would hide under the porch, listen for the school bus, and “run out and get on …” Otherwise, his father would keep him at home “plowing a mule, picking cotton, pulling corn, gathering peanuts …”

After graduation, Lewis applied to all-white Troy State University ten miles away, “submitted my application, my high school transcript — I never heard a word from the school.” He had his first meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he wrote to the civil rights leader asking for advice. King wanted to know how committed he was, warning that a lawsuit against the all-white institution might prove dangerous not only to him but his family. Lewis opted to go to the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville where he didn’t have to pay tuition, just room and board.

Influenced by Rev. James Lawson of the Methodist Student Movement, Lewis and other Black and white college students, went every Tuesday for a year “to a little Methodist Church near Fisk University where we studied the great religions of the world … It was there that I immersed myself in the philosophy of non-violence.”

Lewis had many opportunities to put into personal practice his belief that “You cannot use violence [to] bring about a loving community — a community at peace with itself.” As one of the first Freedom Riders challenging segregated interstate bus travel in 1961, Lewis and his seatmate, “a white gentleman named Albert Bigelow,” were “knocked down in “a so-called white waiting room [in Rock Hill, S.C.] and left lying there … in a pool of blood. The local police officials showed up and asked did we want to press charges. And we said, ‘No.’” At another time, Lewis was bashed over the head with a crate and rendered unconscious when a mob attacked the riders in Montgomery, AL.

Nonviolence, however, did not temper Lewis’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial in the 1963 March on Washington. Toward the end, his language warmed to a level then considered “inflammatory”: “You tell us to wait and to be patient. But we cannot be patient. We cannot wait. The black masses are restless. We’re involved in a serious revolution.” It was an expression then of the type militant nonviolence that Lewis would practice the rest of his life, whether crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge to Selma, AL on Bloody Sunday in 1965, or in the halls of Congress.

The Honorable Maxine Waters (1938-  )

Maxine Waters’ life in public service began In 1966 when she was hired as an assistant teacher with the newly formed Head Start program in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. Waters’ concern for parents’ rights led her to become involved in local politics, and in 1973 she went to work as chief deputy to City Councilman David Cunningham. In 1976, Waters successfully ran for election to the California State Assembly, and in 1990 successfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives, where she’s been active on many issues, including affirmative action, community development, women’s health and welfare reform.

The aroma of frying sausage and biscuits baking, and the sounds of gospel music are what Congresswoman Maxine Waters [b. Maxine Carr] remembers from Sunday mornings in the neighborhood where she grew up in St. Louis, MO. “Everybody created their own little quartet in those days …” She and her sisters had an “all-girls quartet where we sang gospel songs. Not for anybody special, for ourselves.” A the age of 12 or 13 she started working summers, cleaning tables in a segregated restaurant. She adds, “we had to eat our food in the basement.”

In school, Waters was “mature in [her] thinking” and read the U.S. Constitution — “the first amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, that was very special,” she said. She also “loved … talking about soil erosion and planting and how to protect the earth.”

As a child in a single parent household that survived much of the time on public assistance, Waters “aspired to be a social worker.” “The social workers who came to your house were the professional that you got to see” and “they had the power to help people.” Before graduation, she moved to Colorado with her serviceman husband Edward Waters and their first child, never doubting that she would finish school. In 1961, the growing family came to California where Waters worked for the phone company and was able to finished high school.

In 1966 Waters was hired as an assistant teacher in the Head Start early childhood development program. “Head Start was almost a defining moment in my life,” she says, “working with the children in the classroom, it was about families. It was about communities … what our expectations were and what we cared about, and what we’d like to see.” She enrolled at California State University at Los Angeles and continued to teach at Head Start, and worked to keep the program funded, which led to work in political campaigns, a short step away from her own campaign for a California assembly seat in 1976.

“I had a lot of grassroots support and women’s support” Waters says, “women from all communities … white women [in a] rather conservative part [of the district] … and it all just came together and it worked.” In the Assembly, she introduced bills that divested pension funds from firms doing business in South Africa, stopped police from strip-searching people for nonviolent offenses, forced insurance companies to pay for reconstructive surgery after mastectomies, and instituted the first statewide child abuse prevention program.

When the lines of the district represented by Congressman Augustus Hawkins were to be redrawn, taking him “out of a large part of the black community and [putting] him in hostile territory,” Waters “created a big fight about that and moved those lines back, and it was at that point that I really knew I was going to run for that seat because I feel very strongly about protecting those lines.” She did run (and win) in 1990, and she’s been protecting those lines, and the people inside them, ever since.

Library spaces currently closed; Item pickup available

The University’s move to restricted operations means that study and work spaces in Clemons and Brown Library will be temporarily closed.

Item pickup available at Clemons

Beginning February 17, all items requested for pickup will be moved to Clemons Library. If you have an item on hold at Brown or for LEO Mobile, you will receive an email with instructions for retrieving your item once it’s been moved to Clemons.

If you have an item waiting for you at Clemons, you may pick it up between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

You can place new requests for items in Virgo at any time.

No building access, study spaces closed

All in-person study spaces are closed to the public. No building access will be allowed except for item pickup at Clemons.

Special Collections Reference Requests

Special Collections Reference Requests are available through an online form. Appointment access is not currently available.

What else?

Looking for more? As always, up-to-the minute information about Library services is available on our Status Dashboard. We appreciate your patience!

Have questions? Use Ask a Librarian chat or send an email to library@virginia.edu.


Want a change of pace? Our hefty events schedule will put a spring in your step!

The Library hosts hundreds of events every year — movie nights, craft projects, introductions to research, programming classes, and much, much more.

See a full list here, and check out some highlights below!

Women in Technology Speaker Series

Register to hear Dr. Andrea Tejedor talk about her non-traditional path to working in educational technology. Dr. Tejedor is the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology at the New York Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery Central School District. February 26, 1:30 p.m.

Join us as Olivia Seow shares her interest in creative applications of machine learning and human-computer interaction. Seow is an engineer, entrepreneur, and graduate student at MIT. April 16, 1:30 p.m.

Library workshops cover broad ground""

From tech sessions about tools like Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Arduino, and Python, to fantastically-useful research tools like Zotero and GitHub, Library workshops are open to all members of UVA’s community and we guarantee you’ll learn something useful!

See a full list: https://cal.lib.virginia.edu/calendar/events

RMC Creative Challenges

Join us for monthly challenges to develop skills in audiovisual production, 3D modeling and printing, and AR/VR technology. You will develop a set of professional-looking projects to add to your portfolio, get digital badges for participation, and other prizes.

Challenges take place in February, March, and April, and the first challenge makes it easy to create your own animated motion graphic! Learn more: https://tinyurl.com/rmccreative

Celebrating Liberation and Freedom Day

On March 3, the Nau Center’s Caroline Janney, Will Kurtz, and Ervin Jordan will take part in a virtual event celebrating Liberation and Freedom Day. Sign up to join and learn more about local Black history during the Civil War period.

Read along for Black History Month

Colorful cover of Black Bottom Saints by Alice RandallFor Black History Month, the UVA Office of African-American Affairs chose a book, “Black Bottom Saints” by Alice Randall, to serve as the foundation of their programming.

Later in February, the OAAA will host a Q+A with the curator of the Black Bottom Saints Playlist (available for free streaming on Spotify); and Alice Randall will present a keynote about the women Saints in her book. Read about this programming and more from the Office of African-American Affairs.

In case you missed it…

In January, Albemarle County hosted a virtual presentation and question-and-answer session about the time capsule unearthed in September 2020 when the “At Ready” Statue was removed from the grounds of Court Square in Albemarle County. The presentation covers the recovery of the time capsule, including conservation efforts; the materials in the capsule and associated materials in special collections; and how the items might be used in future pedagogy. Watch “Preserving Harmful Histories” now.

Celebrate Black History Month with the HistoryMakers Digital Archive!

This February, the Library is celebrating Black History Month with several articles taken from interviews of influential figures in the HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Today the focus is on two prominent Chicagoans, the 14th and current Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden; and investment banker and current Chair of Starbucks, Mellody Hobson.

See the complete interviews with Carla Hayden and Mellody Hobson in the HistoryMakers Digital Archive!

Carla Hayden (1952-  ), 14th and current Librarian of Congress

Carla Hayden was chief librarian for the Chicago Public Library System. She was the second African American to become executive director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD. She was president of the American Library Association, and was nominated to her current post by President Barack Obama. She assumed office in September 2016 as the first woman and first African American to serve as Librarian of Congress.

Photo portrait of Carla Hayden.

Carla Hayden’s parents were both musicians trained at the Millikin University School of Music, Decatur, IL, and she jokes that she didn’t get the talent and “that’s why I’m sitting here, a librarian.” She was five when her father, a classically trained violinist on the faculty of Florida A&M, joined the Cannonball Adderley jazz quintet. The family moved to New York where her father took her to studio sessions with Miles Davis and others. As a pacifier, they “put me in a corner with a stack of books, picture books at first … but I’ve always loved to read …”

Book cover illustration for "Bright April" depicts a scene of young girls, some Black, some white, in Brownie uniforms in the forest.


A favorite book was “Bright April” by Marguerite de Angeli who illustrated the story of a little Black girl with “beautiful, very realistic illustrations … I checked it out of the library so much, my mother … thought that that was my book.”

Her grandparents in Springfield, IL took her to visit a member of their church, librarian Margaret Prendergast, where she worked at the Illinois State Library; and “that was a big deal ‘cause  … the general public doesn’t usually get to go into a library like that.” Hayden remembered Miss Prendergast as the stereotypical librarian with the bun and glasses but says she was “feisty in her own way because she started collecting books about Black people, and started a special collection there.”

It wasn’t until after graduation from Roosevelt University in Chicago in 1973 that Hayden thought seriously about being a librarian. When a former classmate came into the public library when she was there and told her the library was hiring anybody with a bachelor’s degree, she interviewed and was assigned to work with children’s librarian Judy Zucker, who was white but had an afro and wore jeans. She “was on the floor … giving story time to a group of autistic children, Black children … And I thought, wow, this is not what I thought it was gonna be … it was totally different from Miss Pendergast [sic]. But it was something that really spoke to me …”

Library school almost proved a roadblock, however, when Hayden applied to the prestigious graduate program at the University of Chicago. Dean Peggy Sullivan told her, “I don’t think you’re the type to be a librarian.” Hayden, figuring her comment “must be racial,” “came back the next day. And I said, ‘Ms. Sullivan, you don’t know what type I am.’ And that’s when she looked at me, and she said, ‘Oh, okay. You are the type.'”

Mellody Hobson (1969-  ), Investment Banker

Investment banker Mellody Hobson was president at Ariel Investments and is currently Chair of the board of directors of Starbucks. She was a regular contributor on Good Morning America, CNN, and ABC News. Ebony magazine named her one of 30 Leaders of the Future. The 2001 Switzerland World Economic Forum named Hobson a Global Leader of Tomorrow. She married George Lucas in 2013.

Photo portrait of Mellody Hobson.Investment banker Mellody Hobson had five mothers growing up in Chicago — at least that’s what her mother called her sisters who were practically grown when Hobson was born into a second marriage. She doesn’t remember her father who was not part of her life while she was growing up. Mostly, Hobson remembers that she and her siblings were “very, very, very independent” and had to “get smart about taking care of ourselves” while their mother worked in real estate.

Hobson was a “very obsessive” child who hated not going to school on snow days and would “burst into tears” until her mother “would go to the TV and show me all the schools that were canceled …” She says she was “a weird little kid.” Fear of her 1st grade teacher in Ogden International Baccalaureate School caused her to be moved in with failing 2nd grade students. “There was no other 1st grade for me to go into … my whole thing became doing better than they would do.” In 5th grade she won a declaratory speech contest, reciting James Weldon Johnson’s “The Creation.” “I’d like really act it out … He flung the moon and the stars you know into the sky …” She did well enough to be cast in a local public radio program and then a TV program, “Beyond the Magic Door.”

At Princeton University, Hobson’s senior thesis was the politicization of Black children in South Africa, and in 1991 she went to South Africa as “what’s called a Task Force Leader” for junior kids. They met Nelson Mandela by chance in an airport and he took time to talk with them and ask their opinions of South Africa. “A gentle man in the true definition of the word,” he treated them like VIPs, telling them that he couldn’t wait to go back to the office and tell everyone that he’d met them.

The trip to South Africa, where “extremes were so extreme,” made Hobson “more cognizant of injustice” in America — “Seeing all sorts of people who worked hard and … still didn’t get the same opportunity … shook some of my basic foundations and what I thought [the] work ethic in America was all about.”

Being the first undergraduate summer intern ever hired by minority-owned Ariel Investments led to a permanent job. The company was small, very young, scrappy, very diverse, with people working around the clock doing whatever it takes. “My position was to work on special projects in the marketing department related to the growth of our mutual funds …” In the newsletter, Hobson wrote in laymen’s terms “stories about what affected us, stories about where our investment strategy was rooted.”

During the short time it has taken for her to rise from Director of Marketing to President, Hobson has evangelized about the need for the Black community to invest “on par with our white counterparts,” noting the disparity of investments between Blacks and whites with similar income. “And if we do that then we will we will have changed the paradigm in this country on wealth creation [and see] grandmothers retiring and going to Florida to the beach, spending more time with their grandchildren versus what we see right now largely in our community where we work until we die.”