Solange launches a library of rare books by black authors

Solange is trying to change that. Singer Saint Heron’s creative studio recently launched a free community library that aims to increase access to rare and out of print works by black and brown authors.

The initiative launched on Monday and features a curated collection of 50 books that readers in the United States can borrow for up to 45 days. The collection covers fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, visual arts and more, and is aimed at students, artists, designers, musicians and literary enthusiasts.

“We hope that by encountering these works, our community will be inspired to explore and further study the breadth of artistic expression and the impact of darkness in creative innovation throughout history,” Saint Heron says on his website.

Library collections will vary by season, each compiled by a visiting curator. Behind the first batch of books is Rosa Duffy, founder of Atlanta-based For Keeps Books, which specializes in rare and classic black books and also functions as a community space. This collection will be available until November, according to Variety.

Many of the authors in the original Saint Heron collection will likely be familiar to bookworms: Octavia Butler, Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Audre Lorde, and Ntozake Shange are some of the big names. Duffy, however, highlights their works which might be less well known.

“For this Saint Heron Library collection, it really focused on the people we know and love, but we might not know the details of what they do,” Duffy said in an interview with Saint Heron. “So highlighting these artists, I think that’s really important, because then you access the different mediums and the different spaces that we can move in and where we are maybe not always assertive that we can move us. “

Duffy explained how rare books were often inaccessible to black readers and how she wanted to change that reality.

“The library is made so that these things that should have been in our hands are in our hands the same way they were printed in the East Village, distributed en masse for $ 1.50,” Duffy said. “It’s kind of what I’m trying to imitate or duplicate.”

Readers are permitted to borrow one book per person on a first come, first served basis. Books will be shipped to community members with shipping and return charges included.

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