Solange’s Saint Heron to create free library of rare Black books

The Saint Heron Community Library, its site says, is for "students, practicing artists, designers, musicians and general literature enthusiasts."

Solange Knowles attends Performance Space New York's Spring Gala in May 2019 in New York City. (Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images)

Solange Knowles has unveiled a free library of rare books by Black authors on her studio and platform website, Saint Heron. 

According to an announcement on the page, Saint Heron Community Library is “a growing media center dedicated to students, practicing artists, designers, musicians and general literature enthusiasts.” 

Singer and actor Solange Knowles
Solange Knowles attends Performance Space New York’s Spring Gala in May 2019. (Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images)

“The library’s focus is education, knowledge production, creative inspiration and skill development through works by artists, designers, historians and activists from around the world,” the site states. says the Saint Heron Community Library will be updated every season, featuring selections by guest curators who, with the support of initial partner Aesop, will curate a “collection of rare, author-inscribed, and out-of-print literary works” that can be borrowed by an America-based user audience for up to 45 days. 

Aesop is a skin, hair and body care company that was established in 1987 in Australia. 

“Aesop has a long-standing commitment to literature and the written word. As much as literature is an inspiration to us, it also is, now more than ever, a responsibility,” Adam Kakembo, the company’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement to Variety. “By turning select Aesop stores into free Queer Libraries during Pride earlier this year, Aesop aimed to amplify voices of LGBTQIA+ authors, primarily Black and Brown, and reflect on the stories we chose to uplift within our spaces and our community. We hold in high esteem the work of the Saint Heron collective in the urgent preservation of important stories, and when they shared their own Library project, it was evident to us we needed to support.”

Saint Heron notes that part of the larger goal of its new community library is to “build upon its urgent mission to preserve, collect and uplift the stories, works and archives that amplify vital voices within our communities.”

The first installment of the Saint Heron Library runs from Oct. 18 through the end of November, and is curated by Rosa Duffy, the founder of the Atlanta-based community bookstore and reading room, For Keeps Books.

The first season features 50 titles, a list that includes Lumumba by Luis Lopez, and My One Good Nerve Rhythms, Rhymes, Reasons by acting legends Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, inscribed by the late, great authors to another icon: Maya Angelou.

In a statement, Knowles said, “The Saint Heron Library continues the work we have been building by preserving collections of creators with the urgency they deserve. Together we seek to create an archive of stories and works we deem valuable. These works expand imaginations, and it is vital to us to make them accessible to students, and our communities for research and engagement, so that the works are integrated into our collective story and belong and grow with us.” 

“I look forward to the Saint Heron library continuously growing and evolving,” she contended, “and over the next decade becoming a sacred space for literature and expressions for years to come.”

The Saint Heron Library is free of charge and operates on the honor system. All borrowers are granted the right to reserve one book at a time, and requests will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The books will be shipped via Worldnet, and will include shipping and return postage costs. They are due for return to the library 45 days after the check-out date. 

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