From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Student Library Assistants of Kentucky (SLAK)

The Student Library Assistants of Kentucky (SLAK) group was organized in 1952 by Central High School librarian C. Elizabeth Johnson and Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] librarian James R. O'Rourke, Sr. The members were African American student library assistants from schools, colleges, and the public libraries in Kentucky. Annual conferences were often held in conjunction with the conference of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association (KNEA).

SLAK introduced students to library skills and librarianship as a profession; it was the only state-wide organization of its kind in the U.S. A booklet was written to help train students: Student Library Assistants of Kentucky, distributed by request nationally and internationally. A copy of the booklet is available at CESKAA at Kentucky State University.

SLAK existed until the late 1960s with between 50-100 student members from throughout the state through its existence. The organization was a continuation of library education for African Americans that began in Kentucky in the early 1900s.

For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones, pp. 130-132.

Kentucky County & Region

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Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Student Library Assistants of Kentucky (SLAK),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-07-12 16:13:38