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African American Read-In @SWIC Library: Home

SWIC Event

In collaboration with English faculty, SWIC Library is proud to host a space for this national event. Join us this year, where 30 students from the Literature by Women course will discuss ZZ Packer's "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere". Students, staff, faculty and community members are welcome to attend - to listen in and/or participate.

The origin

The National African American Read-In

The nation’s first and oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature. It was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. This initiative has reached more than 6 million participants around the world.


What is a Read-In?

During the month of February, schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, community and professional organizations, and interested citizens are urged to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month by hosting an African American Read-In. Hosting an event can be as simple as bringing together friends to share a book or as elaborate as arranging public readings and media presentations that feature professional African American writers.

Where do events take place?

Read-Ins can happen just about anywhere, from homes, to libraries, to schools, to community centers and beyond. Each year NCTE asks event-holders to fill out a “report card” giving us details on where the event took place, how many people participated, and what books were read. You can see a listing of 2020 and 2019 events here, as well as previous years: 2018 events; 2017 events.

What do you do for an African American Read-In? 

The format of these events varies widely, but all events have a few things in common:

  • Texts written by African American authors are shared.
  • Participants either listen to or provide the readings.
  • A count is taken of who attends, and that count is documented in the “report card” as a measure of the global reach of this program each year.

What books are good to read? 

It’s a sign of the success of programs like the African American Read-In and other campaigns to support diverse authors that the answer to this question is slowly growing each year. Here are some booklists from previous years that might spark your interest, but these are by no means comprehensive. One important note to consider: the African American Read-In was started specifically to create a bigger audience for African American authors. So, in the spirit of supporting this core mission, these booklists do not include texts that feature African American characters but that are not written by African American authors.

Event Info

Join Us

WHERE - SWIC Library, Belleville Campus, Information Sciences Building, 1st Floor - make your way to the back corner of the library.

WHEN - February 24th

TIME - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

WHO - Everyone!

Bea's Book!


Further your African American reading experience by joining the SWIC Library book club, Bea’s Book!  The Spring 2020 book selection is in honor of Black History.


SWIC Library Black History Display


SWIC Library's Black History Display pays tribute to the many generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society. Featuring a 400-year timeline from the early 1600s to the present, over two hundred newly acquired library materials are assembled chronologically into 40 sections.

See the breakdown and list of books HERE!