Black History Month at the SSL


A snapshot of the SSL's Black history month display, featuring four books: Black Faces, White Spaces, 100 Great Black Britons, Voices of the Windrush Generation, and The Color of Law.
Part of the SSL’s Black History Month Display


In my introductory post, I mentioned a Black History Month display, and in this post I hope to talk a little more about how it was put together at the SSL. While I organised and physically constructed it, the credit for text and research goes to the subject librarians. I asked them in the last weeks of September to put forward a book with an accompanying recommendation, either reviews of the book that they thought held it in high regard, or their own words on why they thought it was an important, worthy read. A balance had to be found between books that were good recommendations, but also ones that we had in the library as physical copies.


The actual display in the SSL: four books are accompanied by their recommendations, and a final shelf displays images of three e-books as further reading.
The main Black History Month Display in the SSL


As I received e-book recommendations as well, I provided posters with QR code links through to the online resource, as we would normally for the month’s new e-book acquisitions. As a rule, these tend to be titles on reading lists, and are on balance intended for a more academic audience. The books we displayed physically are by and large a little more appropriate as general reading for people regardless of their academic background.

I transcribed the recommendations onto documents in the SSL’s house style and sourced some display stands, then arranged to replace half of our new books display with the BHM display for the duration of October. I was keen to get the display on show during 0th week when we had our tours going around the library; it’s of course important when welcoming new students that you give a positive impression of the library (and university). I hope that we therefore established ourselves as an institution that is keen to engage in learning how to be anti-racist, and indeed one that is keen to take anti-racist action. This is just a display, and to live up to that hope we’ll need to take action year-round and be conscious of what we can do to stand up against racism (and anti-blackness in particular) both within the university and outside it.

The books and recommendations can be seen in more detail on the SSL blog.

If anyone has suggestions for other books we should highlight, I’d be delighted to hear in comments below, or marked for my attention in an email to


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