A librarian at Purdue University’s Black Cultural Center has launched a library-inspired book subscription service that celebrates Black literature.


Purdue University’s Black Cultural Center librarian, Jamillah Gabriel. (Courtesy Photo via purdue.edu)

Jamillah Gabriel told the AFRO that her Call Number service will include monthly boxes containing a newly released book by a Black author. Subscribers will also receive four to five curated items that pertain to themes within the book, including a catalog card and spine label to help subscribers organize their personal libraries.

“I was inspired by the fact that there was no book box for a readers who want to find great Black literature for adults,” Gabriel told the AFRO via e-mail. “The publishing industry as it exists today isn’t as diverse as it should be and many authors of color don’t get the exposure they deserve. This is my way of bringing Black writers to the forefront for readers who want the convenience of having great books sent them without having to put in a lot of work to find them.”

The subscription service, which costs about $35 a month, will launch in November. Gabriel said she has already selected the first book—but she’s keeping it under wraps until the first box is shipped out.

“But it’s one that I’m certain readers will love,” she said of the mystery novel. Sharing a bit more, she said, “I’m looking at authors similar to Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Yaa Gyasi, Jacqueline Woodson, Colson Whitehead, and Zadie Smith.”

A California native, Gabriel has earned an associate’s degree in English from Cerritos College, a bachelor’s in Black studies and journalism from California State University Long Beach, and a master’s in library and information science from San Jose State University. She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in museum studies.

Gabriel possesses 14 years of experience in academic, public, and special libraries, working extensively in acquisitions, serials, cataloging, circulation, and reference services.

Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO