The basic mission of the John Henrik Clarke Africana Library is to provide a specialized collection concentrating on the history, culture, social and political dimensions of peoples of African descent. It functions as an information and resource center for the Cornell community at large, and for the Africana Studies and Research Center in particular.
Collections of the Africana Library, in conjunction with other libraries of the CUL system, are intended to satisfy research needs of undergraduates and graduate students enrolled in courses about the Black experience; whether these courses be offered by the Africana Studies and Research Center or by other departments. The role of the Africana Center Librarian is to act as a catalyst and ensure that materials which cannot be obtained by the Africana Library be brought to the attention of the relevant subject bibliographers in other units of the CUL system; and to see to it that there is proper coverage of the subject.
The ultimate value of the collections will be proportional to the cultural, social and political orientation of their subject matter. The Africana Library and faculty will work together in the development of a major documentation center of primary source materials covering both phases of the contemporary African American social movement: the Civil Rights phase (circa 1954 1967) and the Black Power phase (circa 1968 to the mid-1970s). The library also will collect documentation of the history and activities of the Africana Studies and Research Center.