Welcome and Access

The renovations to the Library building that were announced in 2021 are only a physical manifestation of our broader set of goals. We believe that facilitating access –to the building, the collections, and our programs– must always be accompanied by, indeed preceded by, welcome. Learn more about our Welcome and Access initiative here.


African Americas

African Americas draws attention to the JCB's significant archive of materials related to the history of Africans in the Americas and sponsors new ways of engaging with the collection at all levels.

Some examples of programs associated with this initiative are:


  • A lecture by noted historian Herman Bennett (CUNY Graduate Center) on his most recent book, African Kings and Black Slaves (Philadelphia, 2019) titled Kings and Slaves: Diplomacy, Sovereignty, and Black Subjectivity in the Early Modern World inaugurated this initiative on October 4, 2019. 
  • History, Journalism, Haiti: Reflections on the New York Times "The Ransom" Series (April 15, 2022) brought together the NYT team and several historians of Haiti based in Haiti and elsewhere to talk about the opportunities and the processes for making complex history into news. "The Ransom" series investigated the deep history of Haiti, its liberatory Revolution, and the extortion of its resources over centuries. The series, which consulted scholars and included a lengthy bibliography of source material, prompted international action and commentary. It also offered a wonderful case study of the role of investigative journalists, historians, and other scholars in making history news.

Indigenous Studies

The Indigenous Studies initiative focuses on acknowledging, encouraging, and providing support for indigenous studies as a central node in the history of the Americas.

Some examples of programs related to this initiative are:


  • Ex Libris: Belongings, Archives, & Indigenizing Design (October 13, 2023). Executive Director of Tomaquag Museum, Lorén Spears, Narragansett, shared the history of the museum as well as strategies around decolonizing and Indigenizing museum policies and processes, the design of collections and archives within the current museum, and planning for a new museum campus. The Q&A portion of the program was moderated by Kim Toney, the John Carter Brown Library Coordinating Curator for Native American and Indigenous Collections.
  • “Their Marks”: Building an Archive of Native History in the Northeastern Woodlands through Images (ongoing). In addition to her role as Coordinating Curator for Native American and Indigenous Materials, Kimberly Toney created and maintains the Instagram account “Their Marks.” Roughly every week since December 21, 2022, she  has published a post featuring a pictograph entered in place of an alphabetic signature by a member of a community that lived in the Northeastern Woodlands.

Monumental Archives

Monumental Archives is a collaborative project between the John Carter Brown Library and the John Hay Library, led by library directors Karin Wulf and Amanda Strauss

Examples of work related to this initiative are:


Outreach to Brown

As part of its academic and public outreach mission, the JCB regularly hosts undergraduate class visits, organizes show-and-tells of rare materials, and invites all of the Brown community to its public events. The Library awards the J.M. Stuart Fellowship as an academic-year fellowship for a Brown graduate student and participates in the Graduate School's Interdisciplinary Opportunities fellowship program by hosting one fellow per academic year.