That’s a Wrap on Made in North Philly

aerial photo of center city from North Philadelphia

Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg, Temple University

This fall, the Libraries wrapped up our year-long tribute to North Philadelphia with a diverse range of events and experiences. We’re proud to report that our fall Beyond the Page programming reached an audience locally and beyond of more than 700, not including anyone who couldn’t make it live and watched our recordings instead! Catch up on any programs you missed at library.temple.edu/watchpastprograms.

What made this past season of programming particularly special was that for the first time since March 2020, we were able to hold a few events in-person again. 

One popular event was a continuation of the Unedited Philadelphia series. As part of this series, Archivist John Pettit shares unedited footage from local news stations such as WPVI and CBS3/KYW, whose archives are housed in our Special Collections Research Center. For this year’s screening, a live audience gathered in the Temple Performing Arts Center to view clips John chose showcasing North Broad Street. It was unique because we were watching clips from a location right on Broad Street, and a few of the clips even showcased the Temple Performing Arts Center! We also offered a concurrent livestream so that audience members could tune in from anywhere. 

Photo of tour of inside Church of the Advocate

Photo of mural in Church of the AdvocateAnother program that brought people together in person was a series of tours of Church of the Advocate, located at Diamond and 18th Street near Main Campus. In partnership with Temple’s Office of Community Affairs, this program offered audience members an opportunity to learn more about this North Philadelphia landmark. Guests heard about the history and architecture of the church, the artwork on the walls, and even got a peek at behind-the-scenes areas including an upstairs office where the Black Panthers used to meet and the basement crypt.

Inside view of Church of the Advocate

Photos by Joseph V. Labolito, Temple University

On Zoom, we heard from Representative Malcolm Kenyatta about his memories growing up in North Philadelphia while Karen Warrington recalled the importance of the Ile Ife Black Humanitarian Center as part of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection’s “We Remember and We Recall: North Philadelphia Oral History Project.” The Blockson Collection also screened a series of films from Scribe Video Center’s Community History Project, showcasing North Philly staples such as William Penn High School, Norris Homes, and Freedom Theater. 

Other Zoom highlights included programs about the Uptown Theater and the Urban Creators.

Photo of Neighbors of North Philly exhibit

Photo by Heidi Roland Photography

We also offered collaborative exhibits connected to our Made in North Philly theme, including Neighbors of North Philly, from Narrative Medicine program students at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, and Explore Eastern North Philadelphia: Students and Community Engagement, by Professor Lynn Mandarano and students along with the SCRC.

We are grateful to our program partners, speakers, organizers, and audience who made our fall programming a success! Stay tuned for spring announcements.

 

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What to Read Over Fall Break (That’s Not Your Textbook)

Happy (almost) fall break! Whether you find yourself with some extra free time next week, or need to step away from your coursework and into another world, library staff have you covered with these reading recommendations—many of which you can even check out from the Libraries


Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good nonfiction read. Part biography, part history, part scientific exploration, Longitude relates the quest for an accurate way to determine longitude. At first, this book came across as a technical topic, however, when diving in and dedicating my spare time to read this, it quickly became very interesting. I now take GPS for granted after reading this. Hope you all enjoy! I certainly did. 

—Jim Boyce, Charles Library evening building supervisor


A Children’s Bible: A Novel by Lydia Millet

This story about the end of the world as we know it— brought about by climate change—may feel a little too real. But it comes from the perspective of the children, which felt fresh to me and particularly poignant. The writing is beautiful, and I’m still thinking about this book months after I put it down. 

—Beckie Dashiell, editor


The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

I thought I had paid attention in science classes over the years until I read this book. I learned so much about the human body, especially how the human body has so many constantly moving parts and yet it operates without you realizing it. Spoiler alert: you’ll pick up a few tips on how to live and breathe a little easier.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

If you’re looking for an eerie mystery set during the winter, look no further than The Winter People. The past to present flashbacks and small-town charm kept me captivated.

—Jess Martin, library depository building supervisor


Game Wizards by Jon Peterson

Game Wizards details the first few years of the creation of Dungeons & Dragons, the company TSR that published the game, and the struggles between the games co-creators Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. The book is a wonderful example of art turning into business and all of the pitfalls that can come with it. If you have any interest in the history of games or the history of Dungeons & Dragons, creative disputes, and the pitfalls of starting a business that ends up being successful, this is the book for you.

—Matt Shoemaker, head of the Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio


Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

I recently listened to Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. Trevor’s life story was surreal and exciting! Throughout the entire book, he was relatable and humorous, which made deep concepts about his life feel light-hearted and easy to understand.

—Joi Waller, web/graphic designer


Need even more recs? 

 

Get ready for Crunch Time

It’s finals szn, and the Libraries are here to help alleviate some of the stress that often accompanies this time of year. Below are some tips and resources for a calm and confident exam period.


Time for you

Studying on the first floor of Charles Library

When things get busy it can seem like there is no time for YOU. Avoid this by scheduling “me time.”

  • Are movies your thing? You can check out a DVD or video as well as the equipment to watch them with from the BookBot in Charles Library.
  • Gaming connoisseur? The Duckworth Scholars Studio has both physical and virtual games available.
  • Like to escape into a fun book? Leisure reading books including graphic novels, YA, fantasy, mystery, science fiction, and memoirs are kept on the first floor of Charles Library in the short stacks, and just past the main floor service desk inside the Ginsburg Library.

Bake your stress away

Basked of breadYour body needs food, especially to fuel you through studying, so take a break to cook or bake something delicious. It just might be therapeutic! Check out some recipes from our collections including the Blockson Collection and Special Collections Research Center as well as from the DPLA’s Pennsylvania-based cookbooks.

Writing—but make it fun

Journaling can be a nice way to vent some of the stress. Check out these journaling tips from Haley, a peer educator at the Wellness Resource Center. 

Dogs–need we say more? 

People petting dog

Petting dog in Charles Library

 

 

 

 

 

We are hosting dogs for petting or viewing on Wednesday, December 8 from 1:00–3:00 pm EST. 

Guided Wellness

We are lucky to have the Wellness Resource Center to help us help ourselves. Attend a workshop for a guided practice in stress management.

Staying Present: Using Mindfulness to Manage Stress

Wednesday, December 8, 3:30–4:00 pm

Learn how mindfulness and related skills can help manage stress and invite calm. Guided activities will be offered as an opportunity to practice these skills. This program is offered monthly and consists of an overview of mindfulness principles followed by a new skill or practice to make each session unique.

Owl About Stress

Monday, December 13, 2:00–2:30 pm

Stress isn’t all bad and this program will help folks explore ways to find balance for optimal performance without burning out. Students will learn about self-care and create their own self-care plan to feel more supported during those especially stressful times of the semester.

Music makes me [keep] control

DYK that you can listen to music for free through our databases?! Want some classical music to be the background sound for studying? Try Mozart piano sonatas from Naxos Music Library.

Perhaps the likes of Miles Davis and John Coltrane soothe your soul? Naxos Jazz is great for that. Have something else in mind? Check out Music Online for a variety of music genres from all over the world.

Get your hands dirty

Charles Library green roof

While gardens may already have been put to bed for the winter, indoor plants often need repotting or other TLC. The tactile experience of digging through dirt can be a peaceful activity, not to mention the feeling of productivity that results from seeing your plant thriving in a whole new pot. Our Ambler Library specializes in agriculture resources. You can get started with these gardening ebooks

Animals alleviating angst

Have to miss Destress with Dogs? Fear not, you can always check out the videos of animals at the Philadelphia Zoo for some comfort (especially this baby sloth!). Or get lost in the vast array of creature cams on explore.org!


Whatever works for you, it is important to practice self-care during this final exam period. Our 24/7 space is open to suit your study habits. Reach out to the Wellness Resource Center or Temple Libraries for any assistance. Our library chat is available 24/7 or you can call, email, or text us during regular hours. Good luck!

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Dispatch from the Ambler Campus Library: Reopen in Tech Center After Devastating Storm

Guest post by Sandi Thompson, head of Ambler Campus Library


Editor’s note: On September 1, 2021, the remnants of Hurricane Ida swept through the Greater Philadelphia region. During the storm, an EF2-level tornado caused serious damage to Temple’s Ambler Campus, including the Ambler Campus Library.

We are happy to report that as of Monday, November 8, the Ambler Campus Library is open in a scaled-down capacity in the Ambler Technology Center (inside the Ambler Learning Center) from 8:30 am–5:00 pm, Monday–Friday.


While rebuilding efforts are underway, Ambler Campus is forever altered by September’s storm.  With 510 trees down and gone, the skyline has been changed for future generations. I’ve even heard that some people who travel here on Route 309 say they don’t recognize the exit or the area. Homes close by also received major damage, and some are still uninhabitable. Thankfully, even though people were on campus, tornado warnings were sent out and no one was hurt. Of course, many people were scared and shaken. And it’s the people who are most important here—those who work here, those who take classes here, and the locals who use our services and spaces for leisure and contemplation.

At the Ambler Campus Library, ten windows were blown in, allowing 130 mile per hour winds and hard rain into the library proper. Windows in offices were also blown in. In all, we lost approximately 17,000 books, including all of our oversize books.  

On the day after the tornado, three staff members worked quickly to save archival material by moving it out of wet conditions into dry spaces. (Would you believe the only “dry” spaces in the building were the restrooms?) Even the fire marshal, who was on campus taking inventory, pitched in and helped us move those materials to the dry space!

Within a short time, all our archival materials were sent down to Charles Library and Kardon (our remote storage facility on Main Campus) in two trucks, and now reside there in a safe, dry, environmentally-controlled environment. The rest of our collections were packed and delivered  to Charles Library on Friday, November 5. In total, we sent 2,358 crates of Ambler material (or close to 57 tons)!

Photo of Ambler Library Staff in the Tech Center

Ambler Campus Library staff, from left: Andrea Goldstein, Darryl Sanford, Sandi Thompson; not pictured: Joanne Rempfer (who was present the night of the storm!)

On Monday, November 8, we are opening our scaled-down library in a space graciously shared with us by the ITS department in the Ambler Technology Center, which is inside the Ambler Learning Center. Our hours will be 8:30 am–5:00 pm, Monday–Friday. There, we’ll have approximately 4,900 books, including 110 titles from the general stacks, 160 items for reference, 101 items for leisure reading, 195 DVDs, and—just for fun—five VHS tapes! These items were all handpicked by staff, and we hope we have picked some that people actually want and need! If not, our delivery service will be moving lots of material between locations, so let us know if you have any requests

There is no way I can thank all the people who have helped us make this possible—from departments here on Ambler’s campus to so many departments and people from Charles Library who have come up with ways and means to make this move and this library happen. So, a simple thank you to everyone for your support and help in this situation. See you in the library!

In Memory of Librarian Latanya N. Jenkins

Photograph of Latanya JenkinsIn late September, friends and colleagues gathered on Zoom to honor Temple University Librarian Latanya N. Jenkins, who died April 13, 2021 at the age of 45. She was a treasured colleague and continues to be dearly missed. 

Here at the Libraries, Latanya was the Africology and African American studies and government information subject librarian. She served on the Temple University Faculty Senate Committee on the Status of Faculty of Color, the International Programs committee, the Academic Center on Research in Diversity (ACCORD) steering committee, and the Global Women’s Dialogue steering committee.

Latanya was also very active in the field as a member of ALA’s Government Documents Round Table, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), and ACRL’s African American Studies Librarians Interest Group, among others. She frequently published and presented on government documents and information and on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Latanya was a contributing author to Government Information Essentials, which was awarded the Margaret T. Lane & Virginia F. Saunders Memorial Research Award by the Government Documents Round Table of the American Library Association in 2019. In 2020, Latanya was named a Library Freedom Institute fellow. Before joining Temple Libraries in 2013, Latanya was a reference librarian at Morgan State University and Bowie State University, both in Maryland.

Betsy Sweet, assistant professor of equitable and sustainable development at the University of Massachusetts Boston, worked with Latanya in several different capacities while teaching at Temple. During the program, Dr. Sweet noted: “I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to work with Latanya. Her intellect was so amazing; it sparked so many ideas. She was so hard working and so compassionate… you could read her smile coming through her emails and texts. She was so so loved by so many of her colleagues.”

Joe Lucia, dean of Libraries, noted that Latanya had been working toward regular appointment as a librarian at Temple, which librarians can apply for after six years of employment and increasing professional accomplishments. She received promotion and regular appointment prior to her death. He added: 

I do want to say just on a personal note that one thing about Latanya was that she was a uniquely light-hearted spirit among us, even when she was dealing with the tremendous burden of her illness. One of the ways she was recognized as a presence in the library is that oftentimes you heard her singing in the distance and knew that she was around. She always had a song in her heart.

Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon, associate professor in Temple’s School of Theater, Film, and Media Arts, worked with Latanya on the Faculty Senate Committee on the Status of Faculty of Color. She led the Chat in the Stacks program in memory of Latanya, and said:

We wanted to do something more than just commemorate and celebrate Latanya’s life today. We wanted to do something ongoing. And so we’ve started a memorial fund. It will support programming and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives amongst the Libraries… We’ve all been touched in some way by Latanya Jenkins, and I’m laying it on your heart to figure out a way for her memory to stay at Temple in perpetuity. This memorial fund will be just that.

You can donate to the memorial fund in Latanya’s memory at giving.temple.edu/LatanyaJenkinsMemorialFund. And you can view a recording of the Chat in the Stacks program in memory of Latanya below. 

Care and Custody: Past Responses to Mental Health

Guest post by Courtney Eger, Learning and Engagement Librarian

Design proposal of the Sheppard Asylum near Baltimore, MD by Calvert Vaux, 1860
Image courtesy of the National Library of Medicine

The week of October 3rd is Mental Illness Awareness Week, the perfect time for Ginsburg Health Sciences Library’s online programming around Care and Custody: Past Responses to Mental Health. In the United States, it was once common practice to commit people to asylums if they had a mental health condition and their family was unable to care for them. 

Over time, the horrors of institutional care were revealed (overcrowding, abuse, etc.).  Asylums were closed in a process called deinstitutionalization, creating issues of care in the community. New problems arose from this change, including an increase in incarceration for those with mental health conditions and more attention to community-based treatment programs. 

George Elder in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, photograph by Nelson Martinez, 1971
Image courtesy of the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University

You can read more about this history at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) online exhibit website. There is even a Temple connection in the NLM’s exhibit: this photo of George Elder from the Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center 

​The Ginsburg Health Sciences Library invites you to attend a series of online events and workshops related to this topic from October 4–7, 2021. Our lineup includes:

  • Two workshops
    • Bias in Mental Health Literature, presented by Courtney Eger
    • Searching for Mental Health Topics, presented by Stephanie Roth
  • Two online lectures
    • From Incarceration to Therapeutics in the Friends’ Asylum: Treating Philadelphia’s ‘Insane’ in the 19th Century. Dr. Darin Hayton of Haverford College will speak on local mental health history. 
    • Giving Asylum to Those Who Need It. Dr. Dominic Sisti of UPenn will speak about deinstitutionalization and mass incarceration. 
  • One panel
    • Mental Health and Academics: Tips and Strategies for College Students with speakers Janie Egan (Temple University Wellness Resource Center), Hannah Roach (student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Class of 2023), Janet A. Castellini (MSS, LCSW), and Jen Rowe (Disability Resources and Services)
    • (Please note—The panel #FreeBritney: A Case Study in Care vs Custody, originally planned for this week, has been postponed.)
  • In addition there will be Creative Self Care kits for health sciences students on campus. Stop by the Ginsburg or Podiatry Libraries on Monday, October 4 to pick up a create-your-own jigsaw puzzle kit (while supplies last!).

Learn more about these events at our program website or on our events page!

Image courtesy of the National Library of Medicine

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New exhibit: Med school students get to know North Philly neighbors

“The idea was to see the world literally and figuratively through a new lens, to begin conversations, listen to stories, and capture the images of people living near Temple University Hospital and the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, the very people we will care for one day.”

—Lewis Katz School of Medicine (LKSOM) students

A new exhibit, Neighbors of North Philly, is now on display at Charles Library as part of Temple University Libraries’ Beyond the Page public programming series, Made in North Philly. The exhibit showcases the work of Lewis Katz School of Medicine (LKSOM) students as part of a project to get to know members of the surrounding community.

At Temple’s Health Sciences Center, students can enroll in an elective course where they get to meet individuals they may one day provide care for at Temple Hospital. Taught by Michael Vitez, director of narrative medicine at Temple University’s LKSOM, students are tasked with going out into neighborhoods surrounding Temple Hospital, finding people to speak with, and making conversation with them. From that conversation stems a narrative and better understanding of the people in the community. The class culminates with photos and stories to share about the neighbors. This exhibit includes work from students enrolled in the course in fall 2018 and 2019. 

View Neighbors of North Philly on the fourth floor of Charles Library, room 401, now through December.

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Meet the Libraries: Fall 2021 edition

Welcome to the fall 2021 semester at Temple University! Whether this is your very first semester on campus or if you are returning after a year of mostly online coursework, allow us to introduce (or reintroduce) ourselves: we’re Temple University Libraries and we’re here to help you succeed in your academic pursuits. We have a variety of resources, materials, and services to get you started and keep you on track as the semester unfolds.

Photo of Charles Library interior, with stairs

Charles Library, July 2021, photo by Geneva Heffernan

This post highlights just a few of ways you can use the Libraries this fall. Be sure to check our website for more resources, as well as the most up-to-date information on hours and operations. And don’t be a stranger—visit our contact us page for all the ways to get in touch.

Explore and access materials 

The Libraries provide access to a broad range of physical and online materials—from books, databases, and journals to ebooks, archival materials, and movies—all searchable through our website: library.temple.edu.

Photo of book stacks in Charles Library

Fourth floor browsing stacks in Charles Library, July 2021, photo by Geneva Heffernan

For those doing archival research this semester, our special collections are housed in the Special Collections Research Center and the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection.

If you are looking for fully online materials, we have highlighted those on our website. 

Get personalized research help

Librarians are here to offer personalized assistance as you work on your research papers and projects. No matter what you are studying or what major you pursue, we have a librarian who specializes in your field

Getting in touch with your librarian is easy: you can chat, email, or schedule an appointment. Our chat service is 24/7, so no matter when you are working, someone will be here to answer your questions. 

Keep learning: free events and workshops 

We host a variety of events and  workshops throughout the academic year. This semester, our Beyond the Page public programming series will continue to explore the Made in North Philly theme we debuted last spring, and we’ll be offering a variety of virtual readings, concerts, conversations, and more.

Looking to learn a new skill or need a refresher on copyright rules? We offer specialized workshops on everything from visualizing data to using citation managers to getting started with virtual reality. 

As always, our events and workshops are free and open to all.

Tour Charles Library—from home!

Charles Library, located on Temple’s Main Campus, is our newest library building. If you are looking to get a peek inside before heading to campus, check out this new virtual tour of Charles Library


Here are a few more tips to help you navigate all the Libraries have to offer:

Announcing fall theme: Made in North Philly

This past spring, our Beyond the Page public programming series explored the home of Temple’s Main Campus and Health Sciences Center: North Philadelphia. We looked back on the past and considered the present and future of North Broad and beyond: the people, places, communities, and stories Made in North Philly.

Aerial photo of North Broad Street with Met sign

Aerial photo of North Broad Street, Temple University photography

You can view recordings of spring 2021 programs on our website.

We invite you to join us in the fall as we continue the conversation with a mix of in-person and virtual programming. We’ll take a walk up Broad Street together as we screen more gems from our video archives. We’ll meet current residents of North Philadelphia through the Narrative Medicine program’s Neighbors of North Philly project. We’ll hear from local community activists and representatives from Life Do Grow Farm about the challenges they face in the community. And we’ll learn more about institutions like the Church of the Advocate and the Uptown Theater.

These programs are designed to shine a light on North Philly and its incredible history, showcase the resiliency of the community and organizations that reside here, and inspire you in your own work.

And of course, we’ll continue to offer the concerts, Blockson Collection events, and partnership programs that you’ve come to expect from Temple Libraries.

View the schedule of upcoming events on our events page, and check back often as new programs are being added daily. All programs are free and open to the public.


Exhibits

Check out some of our exhibits to accompany our programming this fall!

Photo of man in North Philadelphia

From the Neighbors of North Philly exhibit

  • Care and Custody: Past Responses to Mental Health, Ginsburg Health Sciences Library, on view September–November 2021
  • Exploring Eastern North Philadelphia: Students and Community Engagement, Charles Library Exhibit Space, on view September – December 2021
  • Neighbors of North Philly, presented by Lewis Katz School of Medicine students, Charles Library, Room 401, on view September – December 2021
  • The Quest for Freedom and Dignity: Celebrating William Still and Harriet Tubman, Blockson Collection, on view through June 2022

Keep in touch

Have ideas for future programs? Let us know!

We hope to see you this fall!

 – the library programming team

 

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Behind the scenes with the Blockson Collection

Welcome back to Temple University Libraries’ programs and events blog! For our first post in a while, we’re going behind the scenes to tell you more about the programming brought to you by the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection.

First, we’ll take a look back at some of the Blockson Collection’s recent programs, and then we’ll check in with Dr. Diane Turner, curator, and Leslie Willis-Lowry, associate archivist, who help plan and coordinate Blockson Collection programs.

Still from walkthrough of The Quest for Freedom and Dignity: Celebrating William Still and Harriet Tubman exhibit, from the Blockson Collection’s Juneteenth program

June programs celebrated Black Music Month, Juneteenth, and William Still

On June 3, we went on a musical journey with pianist, composer, producer, teacher, and dancer Alfie Pollitt. Pollitt, who has worked with a number of famed musicians in the genres of so-called jazz and rhythm and blues, spoke candidly about his life experiences and career. We invite you to view the program and watch the fascinating stories, hear musical tributes, and learn a little more about Black music in honor of Black Music Month.

Later that month, we celebrated the bicentennial of William Still’s birth and Juneteenth. We started off by watching a video walkthrough of The Quest for Freedom and Dignity: Celebrating William Still and Harriet Tubman exhibit, on view through August in the Blockson Collection. Then, Charles L. Blockson, curator emeritus and founder of the collection, reflected personally on his family history and relations to William Still and Harriet Tubman in a video from a previous program held at the Blockson Collection. View the entire program on our website. And, check out this article highlighting some items in the collection that can help us better appreciate and understand the significance of Juneteenth.


Meet the staff

We checked in with two Blockson Collection staff members, Dr. Diane Turner and Leslie Willis Lowry, to ask about recent programs, the shift to virtual events during the pandemic, and the upcoming season. But first, let’s meet them!

Dr. Diane D. Turner is curator of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University Libraries. Dr. Turner holds three Temple University degrees. Her areas of specialization and research include African American Labor, Cultural and Social History, Philadelphia Jazz History, Independent Black Filmmakers, Oral History, and Public History. Her dissertation is entitled Organizing and Improvising: A History of Philadelphia’s Black Musicians’ Protective Union Local 274, American Federation of Musician. She has taught African-American history at the university level including Brown University, Northeastern University, Rowan University, University of South Florida (Tampa, FL) and other institutions.  She has authored My Name is Oney Judge (2010), Feeding the Soul: Black Music, Black Thought (2011) and Our Grand Pop is a Montford Point Marine (2018), co-authored with her father, Corporal Thomas S. Turner Sr. Her writings appear in anthologies and scholarly journals. She serves as a consultant on a number of advisory boards and committees such as Bethel Burial Ground Historic Site Memorial Committee, Chronicling Resistance, Scribe Video’s Precious Places and others. She is president of the Montford Point Marines Association, Philadelphia Chapter #1 Auxiliary. Her current book project is a history of jazz in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Leslie Willis Lowry is associate archivist at the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University Libraries, and has worked in collections management and as an archivist, researcher and consultant in several capacities, including special collections, exhibitions, films, television and publications for over thirty years, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the International African American Museum in Charleston, the African American Museum in Philadelphia, The Museum of Afro-American History in Boston, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Bronx Museum of Art, Scholastic Books, among others. As a curatorial and research assistant to Deborah Willis, the nation’s leading historian of African American photography and curator of African American culture, Leslie has cataloged the work of individual photographers, photographic collections and groups of photographs that are part of an exhibition and publications; in addition to researching and planning for photographic exhibitions. After years of working in management, supervising hundreds of employees, and as liaison and consultant to many cultural institutions and religious organizations, Leslie’s career has been divided into two distinct areas – archival and education – within the broad areas of photographic history, visual culture, African American history and popular and material culture. Within these fields she has consistently emphasized the importance of the use of the archives to build programming, education and community connections.


Building Blockson Collection programs

Diane and Leslie took turns answering our questions about programming at the Blockson Collection.

Temple Libraries (TL): How do you go about planning programs for the Blockson Collection? Where do you get your ideas from and/or how do you choose speakers to feature?
Diane Turner (DT): Blockson Collection staff use program planning meetings to collaboratively work on developing programs. We use our knowledge base of history and culture in Philadelphia for inspiration and in identifying potential speakers.

TL: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the Libraries’ programs and events have gone virtual. What has that been like for the Blockson Collection’s programming? Have there been any unexpected benefits or challenges?
Leslie Willis Lowry (LWL): The Blockson Collection accomplished a great deal during this unusual period of working remotely through the COVID-19 pandemic. As an initiative to stay connected with members of our community, programs were redesigned using a virtual platform to give it the modern aesthetic needed for further reach. The virtual programs continue to enable our community members to become aware of new research and to identify emerging scholars and programming that addresses issues that are a part of our mission.

With the rich and impactful virtual programming we produced this year, we were able to strengthen our visibility and expand our contact list numbers. We were also able to develop wider audiences online through social media growth. Attendees were represented both nationally and internationally.

TL: Can you share a favorite moment from your recent June programs?
DT: The [June 3rd] program was pre-recorded at the Philadelphia Clef Club, and this was the first live music that I had heard since February 2020.  Also, we lost Sam Reed so we are honored to have featured him for Jazz Appreciation Month.

TL: Anything you can tell us about the upcoming 2021-2022 programming season?
LWL: The Blockson Collection’s upcoming 2021-2022 programs season includes the following:

SEPTEMBER
September 22 | Glenn Ellis
History of Black Health in America

September 29 | Gospel Music Heritage Month
Honoring the Legendary Marion Williams

OCTOBER
October 7 | William Still’s birthday Celebration

October 19 | Scribe Video Center | Precious Places Community History Project Screenings
-The Freedom Theatre
-William Penn High School
-Church of the Advocate
-OIC

October 28 | Cullen Knight
Entertainment, Jazz and Social life in North Philadelphia

NOVEMBER
November 4 | Oral History Program with Karen Warrington
Ile Ife Black Humanitarian Center: The Importance of the Center and its Cultural Impact

November 18 | Author Talk: Haki Madhubuti
“The Autobiography of a Black Vegan”

Check library.temple.edu/events closer to the start of the fall semester for program details.
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