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Wooster names Makiba J. Foster College Librarian to begin July 15

Makiba J. Foster

Makiba J. Foster, who has attracted national recognition for leading digital projects that curate the Black experience, such as Documenting Ferguson, and, most recently, Archiving the Black Web, has been named Librarian of the College at The College of Wooster. She begins her work in Wooster on July 15.

For the past three years, Foster has led the African American Research Library and Cultural Center in Broward County, Florida, while also working with a network of public libraries and libraries at colleges and universities on a project called Archiving the Black Web. Foster received a $150,000 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to advance the project, which has a goal of documenting the digital presence of Black culture and content through the practice of web archiving. Library Journal praised the project when it listed Foster as one of its 2021 Movers & Shakers – Digital Developers.

Prior to her work in Broward County, Foster was assistant chief librarian at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library and served as curator of oral history and subject liaison for American History, Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, and Sociology at the Olin Library at Washington University in St. Louis.

Foster is a triple graduate of the University of Alabama, earning a bachelor’s degree in history, a master’s degree in American Studies with a concentration in African American Popular Culture, and a master’s degree in library and information studies.

Foster’s appointment comes after a national search that brought finalists to campus for interviews and engagement with faculty, staff, and students. Lisa Perfetti, provost, and chair of the search committee, said “The search committee was impressed not only by the variety and depth of Makiba’s experiences with librarianship but also by her vision of the role of the libraries at The College of Wooster. She clearly understands the College’s strategic plan and demonstrated her ability to think creatively about supporting new kinds of digital pedagogy and research as well as fostering collaboration with the local community and other higher education institutions. Members of the campus community who met with her during her campus visit voiced their excitement about working with her and noted her genuine interest in the projects faculty, staff, and students have already undertaken.”

As Librarian of the College, Foster will take on the leadership of a library system listed on Princeton Review’s Top 20 “Best College Libraries” that houses nearly 700,000 book volumes in three facilities: Andrews Library, The Gault Library for Independent Study, and the Timken Science Library. The Collaborative Research Environment (CoRE) in Andrews Library was created in 2012 to give students the digital technology and resources to conduct research, brainstorm, and collaborate with faculty and other students.

“I am very pleased and excited to join ‘America’s premier college for mentored undergraduate research.’ As a critical partner in maintaining that premier status, The College of Wooster Libraries provide expertise and resource support as faculty develop new curricula for teaching and students create original research meaningful to their lived experience through Independent Study projects,” Foster said. “My role as Librarian of the College is to lead our Libraries in thinking expansively about collections, services, practices, and policies, while also collaborating intensively with campus, community, and national partners. The College of Wooster Libraries are innovative leaders and ready collaborators working to equip students with better tools and skills as they question, explore, and articulate their intellectual curiosity.”

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