Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library

1324 Jefferson Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14208


Architect Robert Traynham Coles' striking circular design, with its interconnected interior spaces, is intended to suggest an African Village . The library features an African American Resource Room, adult and youth reading rooms, a technology training lab, auditorium, parking lot and an African motif in the block facade. The building replaces the nearly 80-year-old North Jefferson Branch Library and has been renamed after Frank E. Merriweather, Jr., editor and publisher of The Criterion newspaper, the oldest minority newspaper in upstate New York.

The Merriweather Library houses the Center for Afro-American History and Research collection, the largest resource center in Western New York for information on African American history. This unique and outstanding collection was established in 1965 by now-retired B&ECPL Assistant Deputy Director William A. Miles, and in 1975, the Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier began to incorporate microfilms of primary source material on the history of African Americans in the Western New York area.

In addition to the numerous books, microfilm and flat pictures, the collection has several specialized databases and has now acquired a new resource that makes Black Studies research more convenient and robust. The microfiche Schomburg Clipping File contains more than 9,000 records that preserve and document important accomplishments in the African American experience.

The Schomburg Clipping File mirrors the black experience, not only in North America, but worldwide. Essentially a periodical and newspaper clipping file, this unique collection also includes typescripts, broadsides, pamphlets, programs, book reviews, menus and various other short publications dealing with black history and culture. An important source for research into all aspects of black activities and accomplishments, the file brings together a huge diversity of material organized by subject and totaling almost a million pages not duplicated elsewhere.

The collection is international in scope including countries in Africa and others not normally associated with black culture such as Italy, Russia and Japan. Easy to use and suitable both for ready reference queries or in-depth research, the Schomburg Clipping File is a valuable and unusual research tool for the study of the African American experience.

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