The Reference and Research Division provides information and resources to support the specialized study and research needs of scholars and the general public in the area of Africana World Studies. The Division maintains a limited physical access policy and a non-circulating collection for specialized study on the African, African American, and the African diasporic experience. Information is available in the traditional book format, microforms, newspapers, magazines, journals, video cassette tapes, audiocassette tapes, books on tape, compact discs, vertical files, and online databases.


The Reference and Research Division provides access to resources in many formats to support the information needs of scholars and the general public in the area of Africana Studies. The Division selectively collects information on people of African descent in Atlanta, the state of Georgia, the southeast, the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. Materials are collected in English, primarily, but includes other major colonizing languages, as well as selected African indigenous languages as available.

The Auburn Avenue Research Library provides limited physical access to its rich collection of books, microforms, media, journals and newspapers. To access research materials patrons use the online catalog to locate material, complete a call slip and present it to desk staff. The item is retrieved by library staff and delivered to the researcher for in-library use only.

The research collection includes an impressive list of Africana resources that provide unlimited access to full-text articles from current and
past issues of scholarly Africana journals, popular African American magazines and international African journals to in-library users. Selected online databases are available remotely with a valid Fulton County Library System card.

The Auburn Avenue Research Library adheres to a non-circulation policy therefore it does not participate in Inter-Library Loan programs. The Research Library does not participate in circulation activities such as holds, transfers or the circulation of material from the other Fulton County libraries.



The Reference and Research Division of the Auburn Avenue Research Library provides research consultations in a private one-on-one meeting, to gain the information and skills needed to succeed with research assignments. This service is solely designed for those with in-depth questions who would like to speak one-on-one with a Reference Librarian.

How will a library research consultation help me succeed with my assignments?

A library research consultation will help you learn to do the following:

  • Find and use the best scholarly information
  • Search the library catalog for books
  • Choose and search appropriate online databases for journal articles and more
  • Cite the sources you use in the proper style (APA, MLA, or other)

In order to schedule an appointment with a Reference Librarian, complete and submit a Research Consultation Form.

Appointment times are available from noon – 6 pm, every Monday through Friday.
Appointments must be made at least 24 hours in advance. The day prior to your scheduled consultation, an AARL staff member will contact you to confirm the details surrounding your appointment.

The Process:

  • AARL will conduct all initial research consultations virtually until further notice. Please complete and submit a Research Consultation Form and a Research Librarian will contact you to confirm your appointment details.
  • Appointments will be scheduled for a one-hour timeframe.
  • Reference & Research staff will email all accessible electronic resources related to your research.
  • Limited copies can be made and emailed to the patron. Selective physical materials related to your research, will be made available to you on the day of your scheduled onsite visit.


  • African, African American, and Caribbean Diasporic LGBTQ+ Narratives Collection
  • Africana Children's Literature Collection
  • Africana Cinema and Documentary Film Collections
  • Local Atlanta and Georgia History Vertical File Collections
  • Current and Historic African American Journals
  • Current and Historic African American Newspapers
  • General African and African American History and Literature Topics
  • Georgia and Local Atlanta Church Directory and Collections
  • Local and Metro-Atlanta History, Georgia Trends and Sweet Auburn Avenue Historical Records and Collections
  • Southern Civil Rights Movement and Social Injustices Collections
  • Southern African American Literature and History Collections
  • Southern States African American Geographical Illustrations and Historical Maps
  • General African and African American History and Literature Subjects
  • HBCU and Greek-Letter Organizations Collections
  • Sweet Auburn Avenue and Historical Black Neighborhoods Collections
  • The Coretta Scott King Award Winning Children's Titles, 1969 to current
  • Subject Bibliographies highlighting AARL resources and cultural programs


Subject Coverage within Research and Reference Collection The AARL Research and Reference Collection Division collects materials of historical value and selectively collect information on people of African descent in Atlanta, the state of Georgia. In the following areas to advance the research, teaching, and instruction missions of Fulton County Public Library Policies

  • Almanacs and Yearbooks
  • Atlases
  • Handbooks
  • Abstracts and Indexes
  • General bibliographies on broad subjects
    (See “Bibliographies” to find sources for conducting research in a discipline)
  • Concordances to the Bible
  • Plot Summaries
  • Dictionaries
  • Directories
  • Encyclopedias-- authoritative specialized-subject encyclopedias are collected selectively.
  • Legal Materials
  • Style  Manuals



Celebrate HBCU Education

This reader's advisory honors Tuskegee University & Clark Atlanta University by showcasing HBCU-focused resources held at AARL.

Latino Books Month: Highlighting Afro-Latino Literature

This list highlights AARL's collection of fiction and criticism by Afro-Latino authors or works centering on Afro-Latino characters.

Journey into the a-May-zing!

Join AARL on a captivating journey through time as we celebrate the rich heritage of black people across the globe.
Back to Top