About Us

About Us image of kids

Langston Hughes Library

The Langston Hughes Library is a private, non-circulating, 5,000-volume reference collection and reading room. Dedicated in 1999 in honor of one of America's most important and prolific writers, the library is used by children's advocates, spiritual leaders, educators, civil rights leaders, authors, illustrators, publishers, scholars, teachers, librarians and students who come to Haley Farm for training, leadership development, reflection and inspiration. The reading room is named after acclaimed poet and novelist Dr. Maya Angelou and renowned historian Dr. John Hope Franklin. A sitting area is dedicated to civil rights heroine Rosa Parks.

Through the generosity of Barnes & Noble Chairman Leonard Riggio, and his wife, Louise, this cantilever barn was restored and recreated as a modern, comfortable, sky-lit reading room by Maya Lin, the award-winning Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer.

The library's unique collection focuses on written works by African American authors, children's picture books illustrated by African American illustrators, and books about the Black experience. The collection specializes in publications about children's advocacy; spirituality; nonviolence; the Civil Rights Movement, with particular attention to the role of women; women's leadership; African American history, literature, and culture; African culture and history; and children's literature. Special highlights of the collection are the hundreds of books that have been chosen as CDF Freedom Schools® books. These selections have been read by hundreds of children as participants in the CDF Freedom Schools program held in many cities across the country. Other highlights of the library collection include the following:

  • Children's Defense Fund® publications
  • Federal government studies on child welfare
  • Signed first editions of many renowned authors and illustrators

In the past, the Langston Hughes Library has played host to the following events:

The Langston Hughes Library Roundtable brought together authors, illustrators, librarians, scholars and publishers to discuss empowering children and youth through literature and the expansion of books presenting positive images of Black children.

The Langston Hughes Children's Literature Festival celebrated the Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. The festival showcased Hughes's poetry, fiction and non-fiction works for children through readings, visual arts, music and dance.

Each year, the Langston Hughes Library sponsors programs to acquaint the public with African American authors and their works. Middle school, high school and college students in the area visit the library for instruction in African American literature and to browse the collection housed in the library. Each February, the Langston Hughes Library participates in the national observance of the African American Read-In, sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Other events at the library provide an open forum to nurture, teach and empower people to work on behalf of children.