Rev. Thomas Fountain Blue (1866-1935), head of the Colored Libraries of the Louisville Free Public Library, instituted a library training program for African Americans at the Western Colored Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library in Louisville, Kentucky in 1912. At the time the program was established, there were no schools available in the South to train African American library workers. The training program remained in operation until 1931.
Fannie C. Porter, the first African American librarian to work for the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Public Library (Evansville, Indiana), was a student in Rev. Blue's training program. Ms. Porter attended the program during the summer of 1914. During her tenure at the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Public Library, Ms. Porter worked as an assistant librarian at the West Branch (1914) and later served as the first branch manager for the Cherry Street Branch (1914-1915). She left the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Public Library in April 1915.
Note: The Cherry Street Branch, the third Carnegie library built in Evansville, Indiana, provided services to African Americans from 1914 until its closure in 1954.
Mattie Herd Roland, the first African American librarian in Alabama, was a student in the Rev. Blue's training program. She attended the program during the summer of 1918 and was appointed head of the Booker T. Washington Branch of the Birmingham Public Library the same year. The Booker T. Washington Branch provided library services to Birmingham's African American residents. It became the Smithfield Branch of the Birmingham Public Library in 1956.
See related posts: Rev. Thomas Fountain Blue and the Colored Branches of the Louisville Free Public Library ; Fannie C. Porter and the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Public Library ; Article on Evansville, Indiana's Former African American Library Branch ; and Mattie Herd Roland and the Booker T. Washington Branch Library (Birmingham, AL).
Sources: Spradling, Mary Mace. "Black Librarians in Kentucky." The Black Librarian in the Southeast: Reminiscences, Activities, Challenges. Ed. Annette L. Phinazee. Durham: NCCU School of Library Science, 1980. 40. Print. ; Jones, Reinette F. Library Services to African Americans in Kentucky: From the Reconstruction Era to the 1960s. Jefferson: McFarland, 2006. 53-55. Print. ; Jordan, Casper LeRoy. "African American Forerunners in Librarianship." Handbook of Black Librarianship. Ed. E. J. Josey and Marva L. DeLoach. 2nd ed. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2000. 28-29. Print. ; Du Mont, Rosemary Ruhig and William Caynon. "Education of Black Librarians." Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. Ed. Allen Kent. Vol. 45, suppl. 10. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1990. 111. Print. ; Blue, Thomas F. "Work with the Negro Round Table." The Southern Workman 51.9 (1922): 437-438. Print. ; "Louisville." Library Occurrent 6.2 (1921): 80-81. Print. ; Brown, Beatrice S. Louisville's Historic Black Neighborhoods. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2012. 104. Print. ; Librarianship in Gilded Age America: An Anthology of Writings, 1868-1901. Ed. Leonard Schlup and Stephen H. Pascen. Jefferson: McFarland, 2009. 322.Print. ; Potter, Joan. African American Firsts: Famous, Little Known, and Unsung Triumphs of Blacks in America. New York: Kensington, 2009. 34. Print. ; Blue, Thomas F. "A Successful Library Experiment." Opportunity 2.20 (1924): 244-246. Print. ; "American Library Association." The Southern Workman 55.11 (1926):486. Print.