New African Studies Reading Room Opens in Butler Library

NEW YORK, December 11, 2003 - Columbia University Libraries opened the new African Studies Reading Room on the 6th floor of Butler Library at an event, "A Celebration of African Studies" on December 4, 2003. The African Studies Reading Room is a special noncirculating collection of materials on African history and humanities, and is part of the expansion of reading rooms in the renovation of Butler Library.

Guests were welcomed by Jim Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, and by Joseph Caruso, African Studies Librarian. The evening included a talk by Dr. Frances Vavrus, Assistant Professor at Columbia's Teachers College, about her new book, Desire and Decline: Schooling Amid Crisis in Tanzania. Malian music was performed by guest artist Balla Kouyate on the balaphone and Columbia graduate student Ryan Skinner on the kora.

The event was cosponsored by the Friends of the Columbia Libraries, the Columbia University Seminar on Studies in Contemporary Africa, and the Institute of African Studies in the School of International and Public Affairs.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

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12/11/03 JD