The renowned Africana Library was founded at Northwestern University in 1954. Later named after its visionary, the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies is a distinguished collection of Africana that has become an integral part of the legacy of Africa and the African diaspora.
Serving PAS and Northwestern faculty, students, and more than a thousand U.S. and international scholars each year, the Herskovits Library of African Studies is the largest separate collection of Africana in existence.
Its collections include
- More than 270,000 volumes across all disciplines in African studies;
- About 3,000 journals, newspapers, magazines, and other serial publications;
- Nearly 15,000 books in more than 300 African languages;
- Rare books, archives and manuscripts, ephemera, maps, posters, videos, and electronic resources (accessible via the University Library's online catalog);
- The specialized Africana Vertical File Index and the Africana Conference Paper Index are of great interest to most researchers.
Desiring to continue Herskovits' legacy, Mary and George Foster, former students of Herskovits, established an endowed fund to support the collections as well as the acquisition of rare and out-of-print books for the Africana collection. Currently, David Easterbrook is the George and Mary LeCron Foster Curator and the library staff provide specialized reference services, research consultations, and bibliographic instruction.