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Amplifying Black Narratives: Black Publishers and Bookstores

October 28, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm

Virtual Virtual Event
Amplifying Black Narratives

Join the Friends of the Libraries for an online panel discussion featuring Mélina Mangal, Rekhet Si-Asar, Dionne Sims, and panel moderator Kate McCready.

The panel will discuss the challenges faced by black authors, librarians, independent publishers, and bookstore owners in getting books by black authors on the shelves and ultimately in the hands of readers.

Register now

This event is the second in the Friends of the Libraries three-part series: Amplifying Black Narratives. Mark your calendars for the next event:

  • Amplifying Black Narratives: The Creation of Black Narratives, Nov. 18, 7 p.m.

Event details

What: Amplifying Black Narratives: Black Publishers and Bookstores
When: Thursday, Oct. 28, 7-8:15 p.m. CDT
Where: Online event, please register to receive the Zoom link

The Friends Forum: A Series for Curious Minds is sponsored by the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries.

About the panelists

Mélina Mangal

Mélina Mangal
Mélina Mangal

Working at the intersection of Nature, Literature, and Culture, Mélina Mangal’s writing highlights youth whose voices are rarely heard, and the people and places that inspire them to explore their world. Mangal’s short stories appear in Milkweed’s Stories From Where We Live series, as well as in anthologies such as All the Songs We Sing: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective. Mangal also wrote The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just, winner of the Carter G. Woodson Book Award and named an NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book. Mangal also works as a school librarian in Minnesota and enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, whether it’s in her backyard or hiking in the woods. Mangal’s newest book is Jayden’s Impossible Garden.

Rekhet Si-Asar


Rekhet Si-Asar is an artist, author, and the Executive Director of In Black Ink, a non-profit that seeks to create spaces where the intergenerational stories about Minnesotans of African heritage can be shared, documented, and archived. She is also a school psychologist in Minneapolis Public Schools.

Si-Asar earned her Associates of Arts degree in Illustration/Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology, Bachelor’s degree from Hunter College in Child Psychology and Communications; a Master’s (in route) from the Institute of Child Development; and, her Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) from the University of Minnesota’s, School Psychology Program. She attended the International Khepran Institute in Minneapolis where she studied African foundations for community development.

Si-Asar co-founded and coordinated the Imhotep Science Academy and Initiatives, an African-centered K-8 educational STEM program. She also co-founded and served as the Operations Manager and in-house artist at Papyrus Publishing Inc.

Dionne Sims

Dionne Sims
Dionne Sims (Photo by Trista Marie Photography)

Dionne Sims is the founder of Black Garnet Books: a queer, Black, woman-owned bookstore. She received her Bachelor’s in Communications from the University of Minnesota before building a career as a User Experience Designer. She created Black Garnet during the Summer of 2020 as a response to state violence against Black people, as well as the purposeful exclusion of people of color from the literature community.

Kate McCready

Kate McCready
Kate McCready (Photo by Carl Stover)

Kate McCready is currently serving as the Interim Associate University Librarian for the Collections & Content Strategy service area at the University of Minnesota Libraries. She provides leadership in the development, discovery, and long term stewardship of the Libraries’ wide-ranging collections. With over 7.7 million print volumes, and millions of electronic resources, the University of Minnesota Libraries’ research collections address all current and emerging areas of study at the University.

McCready is responsible for the acquisition, licensing, description, and discovery of the Libraries’ collections. She also oversees departments that facilitate access to resources held at partner libraries throughout the world and those that develop and steward the technologies and systems that support the metadata, fulfillment, and discovery of our robust resources. Her service area also handles the digitization, management, and preservation of the Libraries’ physical collections and provides services and expertise to campus content creators on intellectual property rights while advocating for sustainable models for scholarly communication and information sharing. McCready has worked at the University Libraries for 23 years.


October 28, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
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University of Minnesota Libraries