Alex Poole, PhD
, an assistant professor of information science at Drexel University's College of Computing & Informatics (CCI), received the 2017 Bob Williams History Fund Research Award from the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) on November 1 for his paper titled "'Could my dark hands break through the dark shadow?' The North Carolina Negro Library Association's War on Information Poverty in the Long Civil Rights Movement, 1935-1955." Poole was recognized at an awards ceremony at the 2017 ASIS&T Annual Meeting
in Washington, D.C. (October 27 to November 1).
Poole's paper revolves around Mollie Huston Lee, the founder not only of the North Carolina Negro Library Association in 1934, but also of the Richard B. Harrison Public Library in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1935. The Harrison Library was one of only a few independent African-American libraries in the U.S. and served as a hub for African American community uplift.
The North Carolina Negro Library Association played a similarly key role: Lee and her colleagues developed library services for African-Americans, ensured black materials were included in library collections, purged stereotypes from literature, and combatted the American Library Association's racism during the reign of Jim Crow in the American South. Their work directly contributed to the Civil Rights Movement.
The paper was lauded by the jury as "commendably well written," "a masterpiece on the history of negro library associations in the [...] southern U.S. in the first half of 20th century," and "a history of how information science has helped gradually to address democracy, human rights and equality."
Poole's paper is forthcoming in the fall 2018 issue of The Library Quarterly
. His prior research has focused on digital curation, digital humanities, diversity and inclusivity, and all matters archival. Among other venues, his work has been published in Journal of Documentation
, Digital Humanities Quarterly
, American Archivist
and Archival Science
Poole earned his doctorate in information science and a master of science degree in library science from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, a master of arts degree in history from Brown University, and a bachelor of arts degree in history from Williams College.
The full paper can be accessed at: https://tinyurl.com/y9gny42g