The University of Kansas Libraries
Africana Collections at the University of Kansas
Printed Holdings.--Africana collections at the University of Kansas Libraries include approximately 60,000 printed volumes. The libraries receive over 350 current periodicals, including over 200 in paper format. The primary subject focus of the collections is the social sciences and humanities, with selected areas of the natural sciences including physical geography, environmental studies, and human health also collected. Historically, the collections have been developed at a strong study level (3+ in the RLG conspectus) with primary focus on Africa south of the Sahara. Languages collected have included English, French, and Portuguese, with selected purchases in the African languages taught in the curriculum, principally Swahili, Hausa, Wolof, and Arabic. Dictionaries, radio plays, and novels are also collected for those languages taught on a tutorial basis, which thus far have included Chinyanja, Karamojong, and Fanti. Future potential tutorial languages, based on faculty expertise and student interest, are Amharic, recognized dialects of Arabic (Tunisian, Moroccan, Egyptian, and Sudanese), Berber, Kongo, Shona, Twi, Xhosa, and Yoruba.With expanded interest in the North African region, the KU Libraries have also begun to build a collection of Arabic materials in non-language subjects from and about the region from Mauritania to Egypt and the Sudan.
Other Formats.--In addition to the printed holdings, the Africana collections include maps, government documents, microforms, videocassettes, CD's, and digital resources. The Thomas R. Smith Map Collection includes approximately 10,000 maps of Africa and has a thorough collection of national atlases. Map holdings include such worldwide sets as the Joint Operational Graphic Maps at a scale of 1:250,000, as well as U.S. Army maps and publications of the British Ordnance Survey. Government documents of various U.S. government agencies and international organizations also contain significant materials pertaining to Africa. As a regional depository of U.S. federal documents, the University collections include many thousands of items pertaining to Africa in print as well as full-text electronic formats. The international documents collections include publications of the World Bank, the United Nations, UNESCO, OECD, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Community. Microforms are collected selectively, with primary reliance on the holdings of the Cooperative Africana Microform Collection (CAMP) at the Center for Research Libraries. Videocassettes and CD's have been collected as needed for instruction in Africa-related courses. A digitization project based on University of Kansas holdings consists of selected titles from the Onitsha Market Literature collection held at the Spencer Research Library
Locations.--Africana holdings are decentralized throughout the various library locations as appropriate by subject. The main collection, including all but the exceptions noted hereafter, is housed in Watson Library. Materials on African art are located in the Spencer Art and Architecture Library. Anschutz Library holdings include all science-related materials, as well as human health, economics and business, maps, and printed government documents. Music-related holdings, including sound recordings, are in the Gorton Music Library. Videocassettes are found principally in the Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center, although some are located in Watson Library and accessible in the online catalog. The print collection of Onitsha Market Literature and other selected items of rare Africana are located at the Spencer Research Library.
Notable Collection Strengths.--Notable within the holdings of language-related materials is a nearly-complete collection of the writings of the 20th-century Swahili poet, Shaaban Robert. Another area of strength is the acquisition of African imprints. Historically, the University of Kansas Libraries has placed emphasis on the acquisition of works issued by African publishers in order to build collections with a more balanced representation of African scholarly contributions. As a result of this sustained effort, the University collection compares well with other research libraries in this regard. A recent bibliometric study ranks the University of Kansas Libraries 17th among 95 North American research libraries in its holdings of imprints issued by a selected list of English-language publishers from the African continent.1
1 See: Dilevko, Juris and Lisa Gottleib, "Book titles published in Africa held by North American university research libraries and review sources for African-published books," Library & Information Sciences Research 25 (2003) 177-206.