The University Libraries are excited to announce plans to create a Black Gospel Archive and Listening Center (BGALC) on the Garden Level of Moody Memorial Library later this semester. The space, which will serve as a physical home for the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project (BGMRP), will feature archival storage for thousands of discs donated to the project, an isolated listening booth, researcher-focused furniture, and a small space for group meetings.
“This space represents an investment in a state-of-the-art home for the BGMRP that pays homage to the important cultural legacy of Black sacred music,” said Dean of Libraries Jeffry Archer. “We view it as a great physical manifestation of our commitment to preserving and promoting diverse voices in our spaces, collections, and scholarship.”
Design elements and future exhibits will be implemented in the space based partly on feedback from external scholars, including African American scholars with close ties to the BGMRP and the University Libraries.
The BGALC has been in the planning stages for more than a year, after a generous gift from the Prichard Family Foundation set the process in motion to build a permanent archive and “visitor center” for the scholars, gospel aficionados, and researchers who travel to Baylor to learn more about the unparalleled digital database being built by the team in the Riley Digitization Center. Darryl Stuhr, Director for Digitization and Digital Preservation Services said creating a first stop for visitors was important to his team.
“We’ve showcased our digital collection for more than a decade now, and we’ve given over a hundred tours of the Riley Center,” Stuhr said. “But we never had somewhere to sit down and discuss the project with supporters, donors, and scholars, or to offer them somewhere to listen to high resolution audio files from the project. When the BGALC opens, we’ll have that, and we are very excited."
Stuhr and members of his team – Allyson Riley, Stephen Bolech and Travis Taylor – were instrumental in formulating the initial concept and layout for the BGALC. They wanted to incorporate technology and modern surroundings into the design to create a unique and seamless integration of the project with a physical space.
For more information on the BGALC, including renderings of the proposed layout and information on how you can support the space financially, visit www.baylor.edu/library/bgalc.