Vivian Harsh event flyer

Athens-Clarke County Library presents virtual program for Black History Month, February 22

ATHENS, Ga. – In celebration of Black History Month, the Athens-Clarke County Library will host a virtual program about the life of Vivian Harsh, Chicago’s first black professional librarian on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 2:00 p.m.

In her tenure as director of the George Cleveland Hall Library branch, Harsh recognized the need for library services on Chicago’s south side, the heart of the city’s African American community. Under her leadership, the library drew literary and cultural icons of the period including Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Huston, and Gwendolyn Brooks

An avid collector of African-American history, she travelled and collected books and resources for her “special collection”. The resources first accumulated by Harsh have grown into what is today known as the Vivian G Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, the largest of its kind in the Midwest and currently located at the city’s Carter G Woodson Regional Library.

Athens-Clarke County librarian Martha Kapelewski will introduce the program, a video presentation of a conference talk given at the ACRL/NY 2020 Symposium: Democracy and Libraries, with a brief character sketch of Harsh and her place in history.

This virtual event is free and is presented by the library and Reflecting, Sharing, Learning. Free registration is required at Call (706) 613-3650, or visit for more information. The Athens-Clarke County Library is located at 2025 Baxter Street, Athens.

Support Us

Would you like to be a part of making your library even better? There are many ways you can help, from volunteering your time to joining the Friends of the Library to making a financial contribution.