Friends of the James Brown African American Reading Room

The Friends of the James Brown African American Room


Today community leaders are building on the pioneering work of James Brown, and have established a new group to support the James Brown African Room, working to raise funds to support the purchase of more books, music, films, and reference materials.  The Friends of the James Brown African American Room will help support more programs and exhibitions, working to accomplish Mr. Brown’s vision to document, preserve, and foster the history, culture, and literary achievements of African Americans, and to share those achievements with everyone who uses the Library.

Led by Dr. Anasa Maat, a trustee of the Newark Public Library, the Friends of JBAAR will be raising funds to support programming and collections focused on people of African descent.

The James Brown African American Room provides a dedicated space for the development, inspiration, and enrichment of all people; serves as a repository and locale for cultural programming within the Library; and honors the legacy of Principal Librarian James Brown (1937-1991) for his insistence on institutional inclusion

James “Library” Brown dedicated his professional life to curating and expanding the Library’s collection of resources on the African American experience.  He served as librarian at the Newark Public Library for 29 years, holding the titles of Principal Librarian and Head of the African-American Room.  After his untimely death in 1991 at the age of 53, the African-American Room was renamed in his honor.  Mr. Brown was especially committed to urging Newark youth to pursue education and to understand the importance of the Library’s role in their academic growth.