North Carolina Libraries, Vol 71, No 1 (2013)

Charles Adams and the Controversy over Use of the Woman’s College Library in Segregated North Carolina

Erin Lawrimore


In 1951, the Library at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina faced attacks from administrative leaders due to its policy of allowing African-American students from neighboring colleges to access the catalog, borrow books, and use reference resources. Librarian Charles Adams refused to ban these students from the Library's facilities, leading to repeated confrontations with the chancellor and the University of North Carolina Consolidated System's Board of Trustees. In developing guidelines that were applicable to all - not just African Americans - Adams bucked the University's segregationist policies and ensured that information needs were met, regardless of a patron's skin color.

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North Carolina Libraries is the official publication of the North Carolina Library Association.