Skip to main content

Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies

Established in 1954, the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies at Northwestern University is the largest separate Africana collection in existence. Its scope is as wide as the continent of Africa itself; its subject matter ranges from art, history, literature, music, science, technology and religion to communications, engineering, management and cooking. The Africana collection is a resource for the entire university, and most of Northwestern's disciplinary programs are reflected in the collection. In addition to serving the NU community, the Herskovits Library also serves regional, national and international scholars.

Herskovits Library, by the Numbers

The collection includes:  

  • 400,000 volumes, including 20,000 books in African languages
  • 2,800 current serials and 250 current newspapers
  • Archival and manuscript collections, and more than 6,000 non-circulating rare books and
  • Extensive collections of ephemera, maps, posters, videos, and photographs
  • Electronic resources for the study of Africa