Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

African American Studies

Resources for students and faculty in African American Studies. For consultation or in-class instruction, please contact Tahirah Akbar-Williams (see below) in person or online.

How Can I Use the Libraries During the Pandemic?

The UMD Libraries are doing their best to keep services and materials available to our community members in this difficult time. To learn more about our reopening plan or our current offerings,

visit Library Services During Covid-19 on the main library website.

Great Things to Know

Welcome to the African American Studies Research Guide!

Mural-style image of Black leaders and activists throughout American history with a silhouette of the US and the American flag behind them; white text on blue background reads: "history making throgh change"

This space is maintained to help students, faculty, and researchers find resources in education. 

Some things to know about the guide:

  • To the left is the Navigation Menu. Use this to jump between the pages and find what you need.
  • Your subject specialist is Tahirah Akbar Williams. For more information on how to contact Tahirah, please see the "Subject Guide" box on the left.
  • Some pages have tabs (see image below). You can easily navigate between tabs by clicking on them.

Picture of the tab interface on this page with arrows indicating that the tab title shows up in the content box, and you can click any tab to see more info about a topic


How does borrowing, access, and requesting work?

The University of Maryland Library System is full of resources--learn all about them!

The Library's page on Access, Borrow, Request will provide details about access to facilities, electronic resources, and physical materials (including what can be borrowed and for how long). 

Find resources on ILL, Requesting, Course Reserves, and more! On this guide, we have highlighted some of these services in the tabs above, but the Library's Access, Borrow, Request page lists many more.

What if I want to suggest materials to the library?

To suggest a video, film or DVD not held by the UM Libraries, complete the Materials Request Form.

If after checking the catalog, you discover that the UM Libraries does not have a particular book you are looking for, please visit Suggestion of a Title for Purchase to recommend the title.

Nonprint Media Services provide access to information in most film and video formats, including more than 800 hours of video-on-demand programming to the campus through the Films@UM digital research collection. You can search the catalog for videos and other nonprint resources.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Interlibrary Loan is used to get materials (books and journal articles) not owned by the UM Libraries. This service is offered to all UM College Park faculty, staff, and students.

**New for Faculty:

ILL can now be delivered to campus departments through Department Delivery!

Only UMD faculty and staff with 20742 zip codes are eligible for this delivery service. To use this service: 

  • New ILL users should choose Department Delivery as their preferred pick up location upon registering for an ILL Services account. 
  • Later this month all ILL users will be asked to verify their registration details, which will provide them with the opportunity to choose this new option. In the meantime, current ILL users who wish to use the new service immediately should email
For more information, please visit the Libraries' Department Delivery page. Liaison librarians are encouraged to share this announcement with their faculty. 

Article Express

Need an article that's not at our library? Or we have the article in print, but you want it digitally? You can request articles and book chapters to be electronically delivered to your desktop!!

The Article Express service delivers digital copies of journal articles and book chapters to you within three business days of your request (provided they are available in print on the UM Libraries' shelves.) In the event that an article or chapter you request is not available on campus, Article Express will automatically refer the request to Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

  • You may request one article per journal issue or one chapter per book.

  • Interlibrary Loan Services delivers digital copies of journal articles and book chapters to you within 1-4 business days of your request.

  • This service is free of charge and available to UMD students, faculty, and staff.

That's all there is to it! You will be notified via email when the article is available.

Course Reserves

Course Reserves provide you with access to essential readings and media for your classes as requested by your instructor. It exists to serve two kinds of users: those who learn and those who teach. For students, all your course readings are in one convenient place. For instructors, it is a platform for sharing course materials.

What about when I study off-campus?

Did you know that even if you are off-campus, you can still access all of UMD's amazing resources as if you were on campus? All you need is UMD's Reload Buttton.

Add the "Reload @ UMCPbutton to your browser's bookmark toolbar (see instructions below), and whenever you come across a journal you think you should be able to access, click the button to reload the page through the UMD Libraries proxy.


Reload @ UMCP



Drag the button to the bookmarks toolbar or right click and select the "Bookmark This Link" option.

Chrome or Safari
Drag the button to the bookmarks toolbar. If the bookmarks toolbar isn't visible, press Ctrl + Shift + B (in Chrome).

Internet Explorer
Right click the button and choose the "Add to favorites..." option. You may get a warning about adding unsafe links. While it's good practice to be wary, we believe this link is safe.

*Note: Reloading the page through the proxy still won't give you access if it's a resource we don't subscribe to. To verify access, look up the journal or database in the main library site's Database Finder.

Citation Finder

Looking for something specific? Use UMD's Citation Finder to search for articles, journals, eBooks, etc. using specific search criteria. Narrow down the results you'd otherwise get by using this helpful tool.

Research Commons

The University's Research Commons compiles services supporting high level research under one umbrella, expanding the boundaries of the traditional library. Its goal is to connect researchers with virtual services and to bring them together in developing spaces.

Contact for questions, comments, and feedback about the Research Commons!

You can also schedule a one-on-one consultation with a subject specialist through the library directory, or email your subject librarian directly (Tahirah Akbar-Williams, to set up an in-class introduction to research session.

Reserve a Room

Looking for a place to study?

You can reserve a room at the library. Go to the Library's Room Reservations page to book a room in any of the libraries.

And, if study carrels are your go-to choice for studying, check out the Library's page on Study Carrels.

Terrapin Learning Commons

Need to borrow some equipment (chargers, headphones, computers, etc.)? Need a 3D printer? Looking for a collaborative study space? The Terrapin Learning Commons has got you covered. 

Get your research questions answered through chat, email, phone, drop in at the Information desk or make an appointment.

You can also schedule a one-on-one consultation with a subject specialist through the library directory, or email your subject librarian directly (Tahirah Akbar-Williams, to set up an in-class introduction to research session.