University of Alabama SLIS Community Partner Bob Friedman Receives Campus Recognition

Bob Friedman, Director of the BBRM, with Dr. Robert Riter, Assistant Professor and Archives Coordinator.

Steven Yates writes:

Each spring, the Council on Community-Based Partnerships recognizes excellence in community-based scholarship. Students, faculty, staff and UA community partners are honored for outstanding research. Past projects have ranged widely, including health care, education, science and technology, art, literature, and special needs. Recipients are nominated by associates and peers.

This spring, SLIS nominated community partner Bob Friedman and the Birmingham Black Radio Museum (BBRM) for the Excellence Award for Outstanding Community Partner-Initiated Engagement Effort. Along with the award, the BBRM and SLIS were awarded $2,000 in seed funds for their “Mapping Birmingham Black Radio” project.

From the April 17, 2019 Community-Based Partnerships Award Luncheon Program: “The Birmingham Black Radio Museum (BBRM) is a community-based museum dedicated to preserving the history of Birmingham black radio and the pioneering role of broadcasters in supporting Civil Rights activities. A significant Alabama cultural heritage institution, the BBRM places particular emphasis on capturing endangered narratives through oral history. In his role as founder and director, Bob Friedman has secured multiple grants from national organizations to support the museum’s mission. As a result of his efforts, the BBRM has been invited to join Library of Congress consortia dedicated to preservation of radio. Additionally, in his role as mentor, Friedman has provided opportunities through partnerships with UA’s School of Library and Information Studies to prepare generations of students to responsibly and ethically preserve cultural heritage while utilizing socially conscious best practices.” Learn more about the BBRM here.

Preserving and Protecting African American Radio

Dear Mr. Friedman –

I am writing to invite the Birmingham Black Radio Museum to join the Library of Congress Radio Preservation Task Force as a ceremonial partner. We also invite you to join the task force as a Research Associate of our African American Civil Rights Radio Caucus, chaired by Sonja Williams of Howard University. I received your name from Professor Josh Davis at the University of Baltimore.

Here is a link to our federal page: -plan/about-this-program/radio-preservation-task-force/

Our ceremonial partners include Smithsonian’s Folklife and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Archives, Hoover Institution Libraries and Archives, the Paley Center, NPR, and many others.

Josh has informed me about your important work preserving and protecting African American radio, one of the core initiatives of the task force. We hope to continuously grow this area, and are planning development of new curricular materials and applications for preservation grants.

The Radio Preservation Task Force (RPTF) is a project of the Library of Congress’s National Recording Preservation Board. The RPTF is tasked with locating, assessing, and aiding with the preservation and curricular implementation of radio history.

Best, Josh

Josh Shepperd, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Catholic University of America

Sound History Fellow, National Recording Preservation Board, 2017-2018

Director, Radio Preservation Task Force, Library of Congress

Alyx Chandler: Archiving the Past in Iron City Ink

Bob Friedman, creator and director of the Birmingham Black Radio Museum, poses with some of his radio equipment, museum memorabilia and record collection from his years hosting radio shows and conducting interviews.

“With the help of local and nationwide student volunteers in library sciences and history over the last several years, former WJLD radio host and BBRM Director Bob Friedman continues his mission to transcribe and create a community-based web archive for the oral history of Birmingham-connected black radio. BBRM catalogs interviews from the 1930s through the 1980s conducted by him and other radio show hosts.”

Full article on Iron City Ink

A REQUEST FOR PUBLIC ACTION: Library funding in danger from DC

The IMLS has a relatively small budget; yet, as you see below, the range of services and projects it supports are critical to our children and the public at large. The BBRM has received support from the IMLS for its developing community-based archive at If you see value in our work as well as the thousands of libraries, museums and cultural research projects nationally…..



Bob Friedman, Director, BBRM


Advocacy Alert: Federal Library Funding

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What Happened

This week, the White House released its budget proposal for FY2019. As we anticipated, the budget proposed a significant cut to federal library funding. The administration’s budget proposal eliminates the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which provides approximately $183 million in direct funding to libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The budget proposal also eliminates the $27 million Innovative Approaches to Literacy program administered by the Department of Education.

Why It Matters

These proposed cuts would impact many libraries across the country. While public and school libraries would see the largest effects, academic libraries with state-funded databases are also implicated. Since each state is required to match one-third of their federal LSTA grants, any cut to LSTA in the FY2019 budget is likely to lead to a cut on the state level. In addition, the cuts to IAL specifically target school library funding, which will make it harder for vulnerable schools to acquire the books, resources, and training needed to provide high-quality literacy programs for their students.

Wait, What Happened to the FY 2018 Budget?

Last week, Congress passed and the president signed an FY2018 budget deal that will likely include at least level funding for federal library programs at FY 2017 levels. While this budget agreement is a positive step towards resolving the FY 2018 budget, Congress will still be working on the final spending bill for a few more weeks. The ALA Washington Office will continue to monitor progress on the bill.

What You Can Do Now

Congress will have the final say on budget allocations for these programs in the FY2019 budget. Now is the time to let them know how important federal library funding is to their constituents. Use the ALA Action Center to send your Representatives an email  and ask for their public support of library funding throughout the FY2019 appropriations cycle.

This will be a many-step process and we will need your help at key times along the way. Stay tuned for updates.

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Need More Information?

Visit District Dispatch for up-to-date news from the ALA Washington Office and find additional resources on their website.

IMLS Announces Grants of $1.4 Million for African American History and Culture Museums

“The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) today announced 16 grants to museums in 10 states totaling $1,485,955 for the African American History and Culture (AAHC) grant program. More than 32 organizations requested grants totaling $3,076,510.

Museum Grants for African American History and Culture support projects that improve the operations, care of collections, and development of professional management at African American museums. Examples from the 16 selected projects include:

  • The digitization of the Birmingham Black Radio Museum’s collection of oral histories and interviews of radio personalities, civil rights leaders, authors, and entertainers. With the help of student interns from the University of Alabama School of Library and Information Sciences and work space provided by the historic Carver Theatre, the museum will digitize the entire collection and develop a blog series for public discussion.”

Full press release here

Hank Black for Alabama Newscenter: Birmingham Black Radio Museum maintains unique aspect of local heritage

Birmingham Black Radio Museum maintains unique aspect of local heritage
Ed Chambers, a sportscaster with WEDR-AM 1220 is shown in this 1950 photo.

“The Birmingham Black Radio Museum (BBRM) project began amassing interviews, pictures and memorabilia in 1992 and received its not-for-profit status on 2004. Its goal was to organize and preserve that history and make it available to scholars and the public. The collection now spans the 1930s through the 1980s and is archived at the historic Carver Theatre in downtown Birmingham.”

Read the full article here on Alabama Newscenter

Also in the Birmingham Times