The MSRC Library

With more than one hundred and seventy-five thousand books, pamphlets, periodicals and microforms in numerous languages in its collections, the Library Division provides extensive documentary evidence of the history, lives and struggles of people of African descent.

Among the library’s holdings are many rare works, going back to the sixteenth century, by such notables as Juan Latino, Jacobus Capitein, Gustavus Vassa, Phillis Wheatley, Jupiter Hammon, David Walker, Frederick Douglass and Martin Delaney. The collections are particularly strong in the first editions and first works by early twentieth century contemporary writers, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Richard Wright, Alice Walker, Nicolas Guillén, Wole Soyinka, James Baldwin, Chinua Achebe, Toni Morrison and Amiri Baraka. Special resources within the division’s collections include: theses and dissertations written on Black-related topics by students of other colleges and universities; English and foreign language newspapers, journals and magazines which provide current and retrospective examination of the Black diasporic experience; and an extensive vertical file collection consisting of thousands of folders of biographical and subject-related ephemeral materials which often serve as the sole source of information on obscure as well as better known people and events. Current and rare titles are added regularly to the collection to enhance its growth and development.


Library FAQs

Can I study in the Reading Room as a student without an appointment?  

Yes. The Reading Room will be open as a study space. An appointment is required to view research materials from our collection

Am I required to make an appointment for in person research?

Yes. This will ensure staff can properly prepare for your arrival so you can get the best out of your research experience.  

Do I need to bring anything with me to my research appointment?  

Yes. Please be prepared to show your confirmation email to our Reading Room check-in attendant upon arrival, and ensure you have a student or government ID to show security at the Founders Library main entrance.    

What are your hours for in person research in the MSRC Reading Room? 

The Reading Room will be open for two daily sessions, Monday-Friday, for researchers to access our collection. A morning session (9am-12pm) and an afternoon session (1pm-4pm).   Any time block that falls within a session timeframe permits the patron access to the room during the entire session. For example, if you book for 10 am, you can arrive as early as 9am to conduct your research. 

Where is the Reading Room?

The Reading Room is located in Founders Library on Howard University's main campus, 500 Howard Place NW,20059. When you enter Founders Library, the Reading Room is at the end of the hallway on the right. 

How can I schedule an in-person appointment? 

You can schedule an appointment by selecting “Schedule Research Appointment” above to get started. 

What information do I need to provide when scheduling an in-person appointment? 

You will need to provide your name, contact information, and any relevant details requested by the scheduling system. 

Can I cancel or reschedule my in-person appointment? 

Yes, you can cancel your appointment by using the cancellation link in your confirmation email and reschedule by cancelling and choosing another time available on the division calendars. Please cancel the appointment as soon as you know you cannot make it to make room for other patrons. 

Are there any fees associated with scheduling appointments? 

Scheduling a research appointment in our Reading Room is free. However, requesting copies of our collections will incur a charge. Please visit the division page you are requesting materials from for details. 

How far in advance can I schedule an in-person appointment?

You will need to schedule appointments two weeks in advance. Check the scheduling system or contact our office at 202-865-8678 for more information.  

Do you offer virtual appointments? 

Yes, some divisions offer virtual research appointments for patrons who would like reference or research assistance. Please visit out team directory to request a virtual consultation with your archivist/librarian of choice.  

What do I do if I encounter technical issues while scheduling online? 

If you experience technical difficulties, please reach out to our support desk at 202-865-8678. Provide details about the issue so that we can help you troubleshoot. 

Can I schedule appointments for multiple people in one session?

Appointment timeslots are reservations for individual patrons only. If there are other members in your party, each person will need to request a timeslot within the same session. 

At A Glance