Skip to main content

ASA 2017 Preconference: Getting Started


The Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies is pleased to host "Finding and Using Primary Resources in Your Research: A Look at the Herskovits Library of African Studies, the Center for Research Libraries, and the Center for Black Music Research," an African Studies Association Preconference, which will be held at the Northwestern University Libraries on Wednesday, November 15 from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Events will be located in the Library's Ver Steeg Faculty Lounge.

This workshop introduces participants to the vast collections of print and digitized primary source materials within the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies at Northwestern University. Designed primarily for new graduate students, participants will examine a number of informational texts, maps and photographs in order to understand the importance of these unedited historical documents in the research process.

Participants will also be introduced to the important role the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago plays in the preservation, storage and access to primary source materials from various parts of the world. In addition, participants will learn how Africana Librarians at institutions across the world work collaboratively, as members of the Cooperative Africana Materials Project to identify, preserve, and share primary source materials housed at the Center for Research Libraries.

Founded at Columbia College Chicago in 1983, the Center for Black Music Research is the only organization of its kind. It exists to illuminate the significant role that black music plays in world culture by serving as a nexus for all who value black music, by promoting scholarly thought and knowledge about black music, and by providing a safe haven for the materials and information that document the black music experience across Africa and the diaspora.

Participants will understand the importance of establishing a relationship with librarians who can be instrumental in providing them with access to processed and unprocessed collections and direct them to materials housed at other institutions.


  • Florence Mugambi, African Studies Librarian for the Herskovits Library at Northwestern University
  • Araba Dawson-Andoh, Subject Librarian for African Studies and the Social Sciences at the Ohio State University Libraries, and CAMP Chair-Elect for the Center for Research Libraries
  • Esmeralda Kale, George & Mary LeCron Foster Curator of the Herskovits Library at Northwestern University, and CAMP Chair for the Center for Research Libraries


Finding and Using Primary Resources in Your Research:
A Look at the Herskovits Library of African Studies,
the Center for Research Libraries, and 
the Center for Black Music Research
Wednesday November 15
Ver Steeg Faculty Lounge

Session 1

10:00am-10:10am: Introduction of attendees and facilitators

10:10am-10:30am: What are Primary Sources?

10:30am-12:30pm: Primary source materials in the Herskovits Library collections

  • Arabic Manuscripts from West Africa
  • Maps
  • Newspapers
  • Oral Histories
  • Photographs
  • Posters


12:30pm-1:30pm Lunch

Sponsored by the Program of African Studies


Session 2

1:30pm-2:45pm: Overview of the Center for Research Libraries

2:45pm-3:45pm: Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College Chicago

  • Facilitator: Melanie L. Zeck, MM, MLIS. Research Fellow (2016-2018); Co-author, The Transformation of Black Music (Oxford UP, 2017); Managing Editor, Black Music Research Journal

Entering the Library

Anyone without a Northwestern affiliate ID must register in order to enter the library. As part of the registration process, these individuals must present one of these pieces of photo identification: driver’s license, state ID card, passport, or military ID.  Registered patrons will be given a barcode to use to enter the building which will expire at the end of the day’s public hours.

Click here for more information for out-of-town visitors to Northwestern Libraries.

Ver Steeg Faculty Lounge

Events will be held in the Ver Steeg Faculty Lounge. From the Library's main entrance, take the elevators to the Third Floor, then follow the signs. Ver Steeg is located next to the Third Floor's South Tower.

Subject Guide

Esmeralda Kale's picture
Esmeralda Kale
(847) 491-7684
Northwestern University Library
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, Il 60208
Website / Blog Page

Getting to the Library

Northwestern University's visitor's information page contains links to resources on getting to campus, including by public transportation and by car (including parking information).

For public transportation options, consult the CTA Trip Planner from the Chicago Transit Authority. The closest train stop is the Foster stop on the Purple Line train; for buses, the 201 bus stops at Sheridan & Foster.

Also consider Uber or Lyft

The Library's Plan Your Visit page offers more detailed information about how you can visit and use the collections. 

The address for the Main Library is:

1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-2300

If you follow the Driving to Campus directions and park in the garage next to the Segal Visitors Center, the Main Library is a short walk north.

Walk from Garage to Library

African Studies Librarian

Florence Mugambi's picture
Florence Mugambi
Herskovits Library of African Studies,
University Library, 5th floor,
1970 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208
Website / Blog Page
Subjects:African Studies