Mike Selby’s book Freedom Libraries: The Untold Story of Libraries for African Americans in the South has been chosen as the Outstanding Academic Title of the Year by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) in the United States.
The ACRL, a division of the American Library Association, is the higher education association for academic libraries and library workers and represents more than 10,000 individuals and libraries. The award is posted every year in Choice, the ACRL’s journal.
In naming a work an Outstanding Academic Title, the editors apply several criteria:
• overall excellence in presentation and scholarship
• importance relative to other literature in the field
• distinction as a first treatment of a given subject in book or electronic form
• originality or uniqueness of treatment
• value to undergraduate students
• importance in building undergraduate library collections
“If there’s ever a book that all libraries ought to have,” The ACRL stated, “it’s this book about grassroots libraries organized for people who hungered for the knowledge that would lead to freedom.”
Selby is simultaneously humble and shocked by the award. “It is such a huge honour, and something I would have never dreamt of.”
NPR has called Selby’s book “an amazing story,” and CBC Radio is using it as a basis for a forthcoming documentary.
“Human dignity recognizes itself in others. I think that is why this story resonates with so many.”
Mike Selby, is Programs & Community Development Librarian at the Cranbrook Public Library.