My research has focused on the history and impact of African American librarians and libraries serving African American communities. I have explored, and continue exploring, biographies of African American librarians, the research collections developed by African American librarians, and the impact of African American librarians and the communities they serve. In addition, I have also explored the intergenerational, mentoring practices that have influenced and sustained African American librarians.
The importance of this research has laid a foundation in illustrating the manifestation of the communal impact by librarians. Another benefit of this research has been an appreciation of how the values galvanized by these librarians have been sustained over the years.
Additional research is being conducted to generate a Chronology of African American Librarians in the state of Illinois as well as the city of Chicago from 1900- 2000 and beyond. This research project seeks to create a historical record and profile of African American librarians in Chicago and in Illinois and could provide a template for understanding some of the contributing factors that may translate to the application of current and future recruitment and retention efforts of African American librarians to the profession.
Selected Publications & Presentations
Cultural Record Keepers: Vivian G. Harsh Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, Chicago Public Library, Libraries and the Cultural Record, Vol. 45:3, 2010.
Walking in the Footsteps of Giants. Essay in The 21st Century Black Librarian in America. (Expected publication date, March 16, 2012)
Guss, Emily and Cook, Beverly. “New Paradigms in Special Collections or a New Spin on an Old Problem: Continuing the Legacy of the Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American Literature and History.” Presentation at the 7th National Conference of African American Librarians, August 4-8, 2010
Guss, Emily. “Guidelines for Success” ARL Diversity Scholars “Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce” Institute, West Lafayette, Indiana. April 25-26,2007