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A Research Guide to Black Librarianship at the Schomburg Center: Moving Image & Recorded Sound Division

Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division

The Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division (MIRS, pronounced “meers”) collects and preserves audio and moving image (AMI) materials related to the experiences of people of African descent. The division has amassed nearly 400 collections, approximately 5,000 square feet, in a variety of formats, which captures the gestures and sounds of major historical, artistic and cultural moments and influencers. While the strength is the Black American holdings there is considerable Caribbean and African representation in the collection. To access additional resources that may not appear in the catalog, please contact the MIRS Division directly at

Schomburg Center founder Arturo Alfonso Schomburg in our original reading room with Librarian Catherine Latimer

The History Makers

The History Makers database is a video collection of oral histories documenting African American life, history and culture. Researchers can watch with and about pioneering Black librarians.

MIRS Collections

  • Black Caucus of the American Library Association collection : 98 audio recordings of the 1994 session of the National Conference of the Caucus.The Black Caucus of the American Library Association was founded in 1970 in order to address the needs of Black librarians in the profession. It advocates for the professional, educational, and resource needs of librarians and libraries that serve the larger Black community.
  • Countee Cullen Regional Branch collection : 360 audio recordings of Schomburg Library programs, panel discussions, speeches, interviews, readings, and community forum meetings, 1951 to 1978.: The Countee Cullen Regional Branch audio collection preserves archival recordings of the Schomburg Library's programming, which was held in the Countee Cullen branch library from 1951 until 1975. This audio collection documents an important phase of the Schomburg Collection's legacy of programs prior to its establishment as an official research center of the New York Public Library.
  •  A separate flame : Western Branch: the first African-American public library: Recounts the fascinating history, from its creation in 1905 to its present day status, of the Western Branch Library, in Louisville Kentucky. This was the first branch library in the nation to extend privileges exclusively for the Black community. This would not have been possible without the leadership of Thomas Fountain Blue and Albert Ernest Meyzeek.
  • Oral history interview with Regina Andrews conducted by Jean Blackwell Hutson: Mrs. Andrews discusses her employment with the New York Public Library, her life in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance period and her community service work. Arrival in New York and first employment with the New York Public Library, 1923; work at 135th Street Branch; experience with Harlem Experimental Theatre; work at 115th Street Branch and creation of its forum series; marriage to Bill Andrews; residences in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance; transfer to Washington Heights Branch; work as observer at UN for National Urban League and National Council of Women, U.S.; trips abroad awarded for community service - Asia, Germany, Africa; home in Mahopac; Harlem Renaissance and Harlem Experimental Theatre; need for blacks to learn their history.
  • Oral history interview with Augusta Baker conducted by Jean Blackwell Hutson: In this oral history interview, Augusta Baker recounts her life and her career as a librarian with the New York Public Library. Augusta Baker was an African-American librarian and storyteller, renowned for her contributions to children's literature. She was hired in 1937 as the children's librarian at was then the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library, in Harlem. In 1961 she became Coordinator of Children's Services, the first African-American librarian in an administrative position in the New York Public Library.