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In Celebration of Black History Month: Black American Librarians

In celebration of Black History Month, we would like to highlight trailblazing Black American librarians.

“Throughout their history, African-American librarians have been pioneers, visionaries, risk-takers, hard-workers, innovators, organizers, and achievers. Through dedication and persistence, they have developed library collections and archives in spite of limited resources. They have provided reference and information services, and their libraries have served as cultural centers for many blacks in all types of communities.”    -Alma Dawson

Edward Christopher Williams – First Black-American Librarian
Williams is known as the first professionally trained black librarian in the United States and was widely regarded as an expert on both library organization and bibliography. Williams began his library career in 1892 as an assistant librarian in Hatch Library of Western Reserve University (WRU). After two years, he was promoted to library director. In 1898, Williams took a sabbatical leave to pursue a master’s degree in librarianship at New York State Library, where he completed the two years program in one year and went back to resume his responsibilities at WRU as Librarian and Instructor until 1909. In 1916, Williams was elected head librarian of Howard University, where he spent 13 years serving the University Library and developing its collection.

Clara Stantin Jones – First Black-American President of the American Library Association
After receiving a degree in Library Science from the University of Michigan, Jones accepted the position as director of the Detroit Public Library and became the first black director of a major city public library. Soon after becoming director of the Detroit Public Library, Jones was elected the first black president of the American Library Association. During her tenure as director and president, Jones worked to desegregate libraries and their services as well as improve library culture by encouraging the ALA to pass the “Resolution on Racism and Sexism Awareness.”

Thomas Fountain Blue – First Black-American to Head a Public Library
Blue was the first African-American to head a public library: The Western Colored Branch in Louisville, Kentucky. The WCB was the first public library in the nation to serve African-American patrons with an exclusively African-American staff. Blue founded the first apprenticeship program (1912-1926) for African American library workers. Blue was also the first African-American to deliver a speech before the ALA.

Jean Ellen Coleman – Founding director of ALA’s Office for Outreach Services Outreach (now known as the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services)
Coleman guided the activities of the Office for Outreach Services from 19’73 to 1986. She wrote often in the library literature about ALA’s role in providing adult and literacy services in libraries. She also encouraged librarians to accept responsibility for literacy education. At the 1996 ALA conference, Coleman was honored for her work in libraries at the twenty- fifth anniversary of the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS). 


Elonnie Junius Josey – Second Black American President of the American Library Association.

Elonnie Junius Josey, better known as E. J. Josey was the second (first male) Black-American president of the American Library Association. Josey was the founder of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. He was also Professor Emeritus, Department of Library and Information Science, School of Library and Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh. In 1970, he edited the pioneering book The Black Librarian in America. He was head of the library at Savannah State, and he directed the library of Delaware State College, Dover.

Eliza Atkins Gleason - First African American to earn a Library Sciences Ph.D.
Gleason was the first Black American to receive a doctorate in Library Science. Her dissertation entitled, The Government and Administration of Public Library Service to Negroes in the South, was the first complete history of library access in the South with a focus on African American libraries. In 1941, she established and became the first Dean of the School of Library Service at Atlanta University and created a library education program that trained 90 percent of all African American librarians by 1986. 

Virginia Procter Powell Florence – First Black American Woman to earn a Library Science Degree
The first of Florence’s many achievements was when she made history by being the first black American to pass the New York State High School Librarian Exam. Following that, in 1923 Florence became the first black American woman in the United States to earn a degree in library science, and only the second Black American to formally train in librarianship in the United States.

For a more in-depth look at Black American Librarianship, you can visit:

Winter Blues vs. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Winter can bring on more than a shift of seasons, cooler temperatures and shorter days… The numerous seasonal and lifestyle changes that accompany the winter season can bring on a change in mood as well. There’s been a lot of research on “winter blues” — and the more serious seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — that impact people during the darkest time of the year.

Winter Blues

Dr. Therese Mascardo, Psy.D., CEO of Exploring Therapy defines Winter Blues as “non-clinical names people have used in recent history to describe the phenomenon of experiencing symptoms of anxiety and low mood during the winter months.”

Symptoms of Winter Blues:

  • low mood and depression
  • anxiety and excessive worry
  • irritability
  • lethargy, sleepiness, and fatigue
  • loss of interest in everyday activities

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

The National Institute of Mental Health defines Seasonal Affective Disorder as “a type of depression/mood disorder that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.”

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder:

  • Depressed mood, low self-esteem
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Appetite and weight changes
  • Feeling angry, irritable, stressed, or anxious
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Changes in sleeping pattern
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and lack of energy; reduced sex drive
  • Use of drugs or alcohol for comfort
  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair

As we mentioned above, this blog is for informational purposes only, however if your depression and/or anxiety feels overwhelming and is adversely affecting your life, it’s time to seek help from a professional.

For most people “winter blues” won’t reach a diagnosable SAD level, but there are definite changes that happen in the fall/winter to impact our energy, mood, metabolism, and sleep habits.

Factors Contributing to Winter Blues

  • Change in routine.
  • The start of a new school year.
  • Cold and flu season (and currently the coronavirus.)
  • Election season and political events.
  • Anticipating winter holidays, family gatherings, and party season.
  • The aftermath of winter holidays, family gatherings, and party season.
  • The excitement of the holidays being over.
  • Cold weather and decreased sunlight/vitamin D deficiency.
  • Increase in the hormone melatonin, which leads to sleepiness.

These simple tips can be helpful in lessening, or perhaps even, preventing the winter blues:

 -Make sure your home is a clean, welcoming, and enjoyable space-

While many people do a major ‘Spring Cleaning” session, winter is also a great time to overhaul your living space. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), the physical action of housekeeping and the end result of a cleaner home helps relieve stress, anxiety and depression. This could be due to the fact that cleaning gives people a sense of mastery and control over their environment, life is full of uncertainty and many situations are out of our hands, but at least we can assert our will on our living space. Whatever the reasons, the end result of a “Winter Cleaning” can provide a feeling of accomplishment as well as prepares your space for several months of indoor-focused living.

-Cut back on screen-time/Manage your screen-time-

Cold weather often means we spend more time indoors, and that tempts us to spend more time watching television, looking at our computer screen, or playing on our phone/tablet. Too much screen time diminishes mood, builds fatigue, and creates too many distractions. Try making a point to put down devices and step away from screens.

-Move your body-

Whether you’re indoors or outdoors there are many positive psychological and physical benefits of regular exercise, including elevated mood and self-esteem, as well as a decrease in anxiety, depression and stress levels.

And, exercise strengthens the immune system, helps you maintain a healthy weight and reduces your risks for colon, breast and endometrial cancers. You should aim for at least two and a half hours of moderate physical activity each week.

-Get outside-

Spending time outdoors, even as little as 15 minutes a day, is an excellent help with the winter blues. – Just a few minutes a day has been proven to improve both our moods and our physical health, leading to reduced stress and increased self-esteem.

According to Kathryn A. Roecklein, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, going outside can increase positive mood and alleviate depression, because natural daylight does a bang-up job of raising your serotonin (one of your body’s feel-good chemicals) levels.

Sunlight also provides much needed Vitamin D, which brings us to our next tip!

-Increase your Vitamin D intake-

Vitamin D is found in cells throughout your entire body. Bones need it to grow, muscles need it to move, nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part, and the immune system needs it to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Along with the harm a lack of Vitamin D can do to your body, numerous studies have also linked Vitamin D deficiencies to anxiety and depression. – How do you get more D? Get outside, open your curtains, buy sunlight simulation lightbulbs.

How can you increase your vitamin D?

The best way is the tip above: Get outside!

Other ways: Open your curtains, bring more vitamin D into your diet*, take Vitamin D3 supplements (D2 is Vegan friendly), use an Ultraviolet (UV) lamp/Light therapy, or use sunlight simulation lightbulbs.

 *Fatty fish and seafood, dairy, egg yolks, mushrooms, Vitamin D fortified foods (such a nut-milks, soy milk, orange juice, cereal, and tofu)

-Practice relaxation techniques-

Meditation, yoga, and prayer are all extremely effective ways to calm the body and mind. In the morning, they can help you feel focused and more energized for the day. In the evening, they can help clear the mind of the day’s worries allowing you to focus on the most important task at hand: sleep.

Other forms of relaxation techniques are: guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, slow/deliberate breathing, massage, or self-hypnosis.

According to Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., professor and director of Integrative Medicine at MD Anderson just five minutes of meditation can help you manage stress.

There are many online tutorials that teach you the basics of meditation. (You can find guided meditations from the Benson-Henry Institute at

-Get a good night’s rest-

Sleep is essential – It is as important to our bodies as eating, drinking and breathing, and is vital for maintaining good mental and physical health. Sleeping helps us to recover from mental as well as physical exertion. Up to one third of the population may suffer from insomnia (lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep) or other sleep problems. These can affect mood, judgement, energy and concentration levels, our relationships, and our ability to stay awake/ function at school or work during the day.

-Set your alarm clock and stick to a sleep routine-

One of the most underestimated yet effective ways to improve sleep is by sticking to a regular schedule when it comes to sleep and wake times. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps to establish a pattern and balances the body’s internal master clock. Over time, maintaining this routine may help you to wake up feeling more alert and cut down on the time it takes to fall asleep at night.

Here is a list of tips for getting a restful night’s sleep from the Sleep Foundation:

 -Improve your diet-

According to Dr. Uma Naidoo, M.D., director of nutritional and lifestyle psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, “Food and nutrition are powerful tools within our control to help our mental well-being.” Eating smart and healthy is one way to help improve mood. Not only do we feel good about ourselves for making a good decision for our bodies, but also nutrients from eating the right foods have physiological effects that put us in a better mood. For example, good carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits and vegetables), fish, and vitamin D are among some of the foods that increase serotonin levels in the brain, which in turn elevates mood.

-Help others-

Volunteers experience greater satisfaction with life and life purpose, increased self-confidence, and a greater sense of identity. By using their time, skills and energy to be of service to others, they not only help people but also receive numerous personal mental health benefits. Help out a local organization, such as a soup-kitchen. Clean out your closet and donate the clothes you’ve grown out of. Put in some extra effort around the house to help out your family. Do something kind for a friend. The possibilities are endless!

-Be kind to yourself-

As important as it is to be kind to others, it’s equally important to practice kindness towards yourself. We’ve given you a lot of tips on how to deal with feeling down. But when you’re depressed, it can be really hard to find the motivation to actually do these things. If you skip a workout or stay in all day, don’t get mad at yourself. Instead, think about what you’d say to a good friend going through something similar.

-Most importantly: don’t hesitate to see your healthcare professional

“Blues can be part of some other system,” says Jacqueline Gollan, PhD, associate professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Chronic pain, headaches, sleep disorders, and even heart disease are all linked to depression symptoms, so check in with your healthcare provider to make sure your winter blues aren’t something more serious.

We hope that these small changes can lighten your mood and help you get through the winter blues!


This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

The information (including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material) contained on this blog are for informational purposes only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. *

-Written by Jess The Young Adult Librarian








May Is National Correct Posture Month


The information (including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material) contained on this blog are for informational purposes only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


Posture is how you hold your body.

There are two types different types of posture: Dynamic and Static.

-Dynamic posture is how you hold yourself when you are moving, like when you are walking, running, or bending over to pick up something.

-Static posture is how you hold yourself when you are not moving, like when you are sitting, standing, or sleeping.


Poor posture (such as slouching or slumping over) can affect you head to toe, contributing to a number of problems:

Cause neck, shoulder, and back pain

Cause headaches and jaw pain

Cause knee, hip, and foot pain

Decrease your flexibility

Affect how well your joints move

Cause Shoulder pain and impingement

Affect your balance and increase your risk of falling

Make it harder to digest your food

Make it harder to breathe

Misalign your musculoskeletal system

Wear away at your spine, making it more fragile and prone to injury


  • Be mindful of your posture during everyday activities, like watching television, washing dishes, or walking
  • Stay active. Any kind of exercise may help improve your posture, but certain types of exercises can be especially helpful. They include yoga, tai chi, and other classes that focuses on body awareness. It is also a good idea to do exercises that strengthen your core (muscles around your back, abdomen, and pelvis).
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight can weaken your abdominal muscles, cause problems for your pelvis and spine, and contribute to lower back pain. All of these can hurt your posture.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes. High heels, for example, can throw off your balance and force you to walk differently. This puts more stress on your muscles and harms your posture.
  • Make sure work surfaces are at a comfortable height for you, whether you’re sitting in front of a computer, making dinner, or eating a meal.


  • Stand up straight and tall
  • Keep your shoulders back
  • Pull your stomach in
  • Put your weight mostly on the balls of your feet
  • Keep your head level
  • Let your arms hang down naturally at your sides
  • Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart


So many of us spend a good deal of time sitting – either at work, at school, or at home. It is important to sit properly, and to take frequent breaks:

  • Switch sitting positions often
  • Take brief walks around your office or home
  • Gently stretch your muscles every so often to help relieve muscle tension
  • Don’t cross your legs; keep your feet on the floor, with your ankles in front of your knees
  • Make sure that your feet touch the floor, or if that’s not possible, use a footrest
  • Relax your shoulders; they should not be rounded or pulled backwards
  • Keep your elbows in close to your body. They should be bent between 90 and 120 degrees.
  • Make sure that your back is fully supported. Use a back pillow or other back support if your chair does not have a backrest that can support your lower back’s curve.
  • Make sure that your thighs and hips are supported. You should have a well-padded seat, and your thighs and hips should be parallel to the floor.


You can take a posture test at home without any equipment. You will need someone’s help to take a measurement with a ruler or tape measure.

First, stand against the wall, with the back of your head touching the wall. Place heels 6 inches out from the wall.

Your buttocks and both shoulder blades should be touching the wall. Have someone measure the space between your neck and the wall. Also, measure the distance between the wall and the small of your back.

Both these measurements should be less than 2 inches. If the measurement is greater than 2 inches, you likely have poor posture and a curved spine.

There’s an app for that.