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Envisioning reciprocal and sustainable HBCU-LIS pipeline partnerships: What HBCU librarians have to say

Ana V. Ndumu (College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA)
Tina Rollins (William R. and Norma B. Harvey Library, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, USA)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 10 April 2020




After the closing of four of the five historically Black college and university (HBCU)–based library and information science (LIS) graduate programs (leaving only that of North Carolina Central University), there is a need to revitalize HBCU-LIS degree program pathways to increase racial diversity in LIS education.


This mixed-methods study entails survey and interview research with HBCU librarians. The researchers explored participants’ professional experiences and perspectives on creating partnerships between HBCU institutions and LIS graduate programs.


Participants demonstrated substantial experience, expressed high levels of job satisfaction, viewed pipeline programs favorably and believed that LIS can be strengthened through the inclusion of HBCU educational practices and students.

Practical implications

This study provides recommendations and a model for forging culturally competent and reciprocal HBCU–LIS degree program partnerships.

Social implications

Community-led knowledge of HBCUs can disrupt rescue and deficiency narratives of these institutions. Such prejudices are detrimental to HBCU-LIS degree program partnerships.


Past HBCU-LIS degree program pipeline partnerships did not culminate in research or published best practices. This paper presents literature-derived and community-sourced guidelines along with a model for future initiatives.



The lead author wishes to thank the Council on Library and Information Resources for the Digital Library Federation Futures Fellowship that made this research possible.


Ndumu, A.V. and Rollins, T. (2020), "Envisioning reciprocal and sustainable HBCU-LIS pipeline partnerships: What HBCU librarians have to say", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 121 No. 3/4, pp. 155-174.



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