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Inaugural African-American Read-In invites readers, listeners and participants

February 19, 2016

The community is invited to a new, participatory event on Feb. 26:  A Read-In celebrating Black History Month.

To take part in this literary afternoon, drop by the Lecture Hall in James Branch Cabell Library (Room 303) between noon and 4 p.m. on Feb. 26. Sign up for a five-minute reading slot and read from works authored by African-Americans or about African-Americans, Africans and the diaspora. Featured readings will be scheduled at 1, 2 and 3 p.m., leaving hours of time for active participation. VCU Libraries will provide a selection of literary works for reading or checking out.

A light lunch will be served at noon. Refreshments will be served at 2:30 p.m. Attendees are expected to come and go and participate as they wish--by reading their own work or others’ works or by listening, reflecting and commenting on paper tablecloths or comment cards.

This is an inaugural event for VCU Libraries and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. Depending on feedback from attendees, additional Read-Ins on diverse topics may be organized in the future.

“Supporting conversation among smart, eloquent, visionary authors is a timeless role of the library,” says Sara Williams, head, Academic Outreach. “In contrast to the old image of a shushing librarian, Read-Ins are the contemporary librarian's way of saying ‘these words need to be heard. Say them aloud!’”

Featured readers are:

  • 1 p.m.Ronnie Sidney, (MSW, ‘04) and author of the graphic novel, Nelson Beats the Odds
  • 2 p.m.Kimberly Brown, interim chair, African American Studies Department and chair of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
  • 3 p.m. Student organization representatives from African & African American Student Empowerment Project (AASE) and Black Art Student Empowerment (BASE)

This event is free and open to the public.  

It is sponsored by VCU Libraries and the VCU Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.


The Read In is governed by these simple rules.

  • Everyone is welcome to read.  
  • Please sign in for a time slot.
  • Bring a text or choose one from the selections provided by the library.  
  • Support our readers: Applaud, cheer, say “Thanks!”
  • Honor the five-minute limit but allow a little extra time when needed.
  • Grab some food, move about, talk quietly with others, come and go.
  • Libraries reject censorship. If something offends you, share a text with a different view or write your thoughts on the table covers.
  • Don’t see your favorite work? Make a purchase suggestion!
  • Please complete a comment card so we can improve future Read-Ins.
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