Black History Month: Resources, Collections, and Events

By Margaret Bates, Research and Instruction Librarian, University of Alabama Libraries

February is Black History Month! The theme for 2024 is African Americans and the Arts. Here are some resources to help highlight different Black writers, artists, and movements at your library.

National Museum of African American History and Culture: The NMAAHC has curated an online collection including gallery tours, reading lists, exhibition highlights, and social media material. Make sure to check out their collection on the Black Women’s Literary Renaissance of the 1970s!

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History: is hosting virtual events all February covering different aspects of the theme African Americans and the Arts. On February 15th they’ll be hosting an evening talk about the Impact of the Arts in the Gullah Geechee Community!

The Smithsonian Institution: has events dedicated to Black History Month, some in person and some virtual, as well as lists of resources, online exhibitions, and a list of Black History Exhibits from its many museums. Check out the virtual exhibit from the Postal Museum, “The Black Experience.”

Penguin Random House: has released a list of featured speakers, including Nicola Yoon, a National Book award finalist and NYT bestselling author, and Percival Everett, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. They have also published a Books for Black History Month reading list.

The American Association of School Librarians: has a helpful Black History Month Page with many resources and lesson plans on how to engage with learners and patrons on Black History Month.

Check out the ALA Advocacy page to support authors of banned books and advocate for building diverse collections.

The first week of February (2/2-2/10) is Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week. Check out the 2023 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Honors and Winners to highlight in your collections.

How is your library going to celebrate Black History Month? Are there any resources we missed?

In addition to Black History Month, here are some other holidays and observances for February that your library may want to keep in mind.

February is National Library Lovers Month; how do your patrons love the library?!

February 2 – National Wear Red Day to raise awareness for heart disease

February 2 – Groundhog Day

The Library of Congress has a short information blogpost about the origins of Groundhog day. Did you know it originated with the Celts?

February 7 – World Read Aloud Day

LitWorld has tons of Resources and Activities from live events, virtual bookshelves, booklists, and activities.

February 10 – Lunar New Year

Penguin Random House has great selection of books for all ages by Asian Authors from all over the world.

February 11 – Superbowl Sunday

February 11-17 – Freelance Writers Appreciation Week

Check out the Freelance Solidarity Project to learn more about how you can support freelance writers.

February 14 is Valentine’s Day

Try setting up Blind Date with a Book at your library, or some other fun activity!

February 19 – President’s Day

February 20 – World Day of Social Justice

Advocate for your local library! Find out more at the ALA’s State and Local Advocacy Page.

February 29th – Leap Day!

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