BREAKING NEWS: Lavonda Kay Broadnax wins RUSA’s Zora Neale Hurston Award for leadership in promoting African-American literature

SEATTLE—Lavonda Kay Broadnax, digital project coordinator at the Library of Congress, is the 2013 recipient of the Zora Neale Hurston Award, an annual achievement award presented by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) and sponsored by Harper Perennial.

The Zora Neale Hurston Award honors librarians who have demonstrated leadership in promoting African-American literature. Broadnax was selected for her wonderful bibliography project, “Selected Literature Published by the Civil War Soul Sisters.” The project showcases the writings of “…black women who lived during the U.S. Civil War, [during] a time when it was illegal for most African Americans to learn to read or write.”

The winner was selected by the Zora Neale Hurston Award Committee: Jannie R. Cobb, chair, National Labor College; Cynthia Crosser, University of Maine; and Lucy Lockley, St. Charles City-County (Mo.) Library District.

Ms. Broadnax was selected for her bibliography project, Selected Literature Published by the Civil War Soul Sisters. Her submission is posted on the Library of Congress website as Selected Online Works by Civil War Era African American Women. The project showcases the writings of “Black women who lived during the U.S. Civil War, [at] a time when it was illegal for most African Americans to learn to read or write.”  It shows her passion and enthusiasm for this area of study which developed out of her effort to highlight these great works and enlighten others about these important pieces of literature.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Not a member, but interested in being part of a member community and enjoying discounted registration rates on conference, preconferences and other events? Join, renew or add RUSA to your ALA membership at  www.ala.org/membership. Learn more about the association at  www.ala.org/rusa.

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