Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version



Dawes, L. & Maxey-Harris, C. (2018). The African Poetry Libraries: Global Collaboration. In Y. Luckert & L. Inge (Eds.),The Globalized Library:American Academic Libraries and International Students, Collections andPractices. Chicago: ACRL Press.


Licensed CC-BY


In 2014, the African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) and the University of Nebraska (UNL)literary magazine-thePrairie Schooner established African Poetry Libraries in five countries; Ghana, Kenya,Uganda, Gambia and Botswana. The purpose of these libraries wasto support the creativity of aspiring and establishedpoets in their local communities. The University of Nebraska Libraries was asked toserve as consultants on the initiative by working with local volunteers to set up thelibraries and provideongoing assistance and advice to the new libraries during thefirst three years of their inception. The goal of the librariesis to support thelocal community of poets through access to contemporary poetry, and to serve as a resource for poets interested in publication in Africa and around the world.The collections comprise of solicited donations from US and UK publishers and each library receives 300-400 books annually for the first three years, after which the libraries become completely self-directed and self-sufficient. This chapter will describe the highlights of this innovative initiative, and the development of the partnership between theAPBF and the University of Nebraska Libraries that has shaped a global connection between: literary arts organizations and publishers in the US and UK, African libraries, writer’s co-ops, cultural centers, and poets.