Raleigh, NC (October 1, 2010) – Shaw University’s James Cheek Library will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony today at 11:00 a.m. to showcase its new Mollie Huston Lee Collection of African-American books. Wake County Public Library donated 2,300 items from the collection, named for its founder, which is housed in the County’s Richard B. Harrison Library. The Library system has received a federal Library Services and Technology Act grant for $17,000 to enhance the children's portion of the collection remaining at Richard B. Harrison Library and will spend another $6000 to enhance the adult materials therein.
Mrs. Lee, a former librarian at Shaw University, opened the first public library for the African-American residents of Raleigh in 1935. She developed a significant collection over the years as director at Richard B. Harrison Library.
“We are delighted to include the collection of Ms. Mollie Huston Lee to the Special Collections part of our archives. It is an important piece of what we hope will become a major repository for the study of African-American life and history; not only southern culture, but across the Diaspora,” said Cheek Library Director, Musette McKelvey.
Since the fall of 2009, a group of leading community advisors has worked closely with library staff to create a vision for updating the Lee Collection in regard to the items to retain, the items too damaged to retain, items to be transferred to Shaw, and the materials needed to enhance the special collection.
“We’re very proud of this historical collection and appreciate the work of community leaders to ensure it will enrich all Wake County residents for years to come. Shaw University is a great partner in preserving and sharing a large portion of these important materials,” said Harrison Library Director, Michael Wasilick.
Shaw University was founded in 1865 and is the oldest historically black university in the south. Shaw University is a private, co-educational, liberal arts University that awards degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The primary mission of Shaw University is teaching with the commitment to maintain excellence in research and academic programs that foster intellectual enhancement and technological skills.