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Center for Black Literature & Culture

The Indianapolis Public Library's Center for Black Literature & Culture (CBLC) is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots. If you have visited the CBLC or attended a CBLC program, please take our survey!

Center for Black Literature & Culture
Center for Black Literature & Culture Logo

Located in the R.B. Annis West Reading Room at Central Library, the Center for Black Literature & Culture is home to a 10,000+ item collection of books, CDs, magazines, movies and research tools, all of which showcase black history and culture. This space is for ALL who are interested in exploring the rich heritage that has influenced nations across the globe. Visit us to browse our collections, join us for one of our signature programs, or explore our digital collections and website online. Tours are available by request.

The creation of the Center for Black Literature & Culture is made possible thanks to a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.


The CBLC regularly hosts authors, poets, and other programs throughout the year, and we hope you can join us! Recent favorites include workshops with poet and friend of the CBLC Adrian Matejka, African American Genealogy, Reparations 101, Readings of Frederick Douglass, and more. Check back here for updates or contact us if you have an idea for a CBLC program or partnership.

Featured Annual Events

7th Annual Book Fest & Juneteenth Celebration

Saturday, June 15 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Central Library

This year's event will offer a glimpse into African American Art, literature, and storytelling. This year’s author presentation is showcasing African Americans & the Arts. We will be asking our authors to highlight works inspired by different representations of art in the African American community.

The day will include performances by Poet Laurent Januarie York, a> feature film showing from IU Bloomington Black Film Center & Archive, African Drumming by Siteaw Inc, a music performance by Jamie Johnson, DJN4Red, and a Photo 360 photobooth. Our featured speaker will be NY Times Bestselling & USA Today top 100 Author JaQuavis Coleman who will come and talk about his new book, answer a few Q&A, and have an hour for book signing and purchases.

Would you like to be a featured author?

Featured authors will receive table space to network with other authors, meet the public, and promote books. Set up will occur between 10 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on the morning of June 15th. You do NOT have to fill out more than one application if you are interested in showcasing more than one book. Should you choose to do a short individual presentation of your work in the Center for Black Literature & Culture with a short Q&A, a short bio and image of your book's cover will be required. *Note that not everyone will be able to present at this year's Author Fast Forward.

Tables and seating are limited. Submissions for consideration will be accepted through May 26, 2024. Complete this application to be considered. The application will take approximately 7-10 minutes to complete. If you have questions or futher concerns, please email Bryanna Barnes.

Juneteenth is a national holiday that celebrates the emancipation of enslaved Texans two years after the signing of the emancipation proclamation in 1863. Learn more about Juneteenth.

Hoosiers Reading Frederick Douglass Together

Join us annually in July to read and discuss “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass. The Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities started the program, Reading Frederick Douglass Together, to encourage families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to gather and read the speech aloud to help shape our understanding of freedom in American. If you are unable to attend a reading, you can find the text here. There is a printable tip sheet, discussion guide, and page of helpful resources. In addition, we invite you to explore Indiana University School of Liberal Arts' Frederick Douglas Papers.


Center for Black Literature & Culture: The Power of Black Voices Website
This online collection includes artifacts, photographs, and articles in the categories: Black Literature, Indianapolis Black Heritage, Black Culture, Black Librarianship, and The African Diaspora. Browse the collection here.

The Center for Black Literature & Culture: The Power of Black Voices

Center for Black Literature & Culture e-Book & Audiobook Collection
You can download and stream e-books and audiobooks from the CBLC digital collection in OverDrive or in the Libby app with your Library card. Browse the collection here. If you have never borrowed from OverDrive before both app directions and browser directions are available as well as a video tutorial and Overdrive Support.

Murals for Justice Collection
In June 2020, local artists of color were commissioned to create murals from artwork originally created on the wood that was used to cover downtown Indianapolis windows amid that year's May protests of the police-involved killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Dreasjon Reed. The purpose of this commissioned work is to ensure this art was archived as a part of Indianapolis history. The Murals for Justice Collection is housed in the Center for Black Literature & Culture. Each mural is also available for checkout. Learn more here.

Need help? Ask a Library staff member at any of our locations or call, text or email Ask-a-Librarian. The Tinker Station helpline at (317) 275-4500 is also available. It is staffed by device experts who can answer questions about how to read, watch, and listen on a PC, tablet, or phone.

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