Senior Librarian, Brooklyn Public Library
Who is she: Taneya D. Gethers is a writer, editor, and librarian in the spirit of scholar-activist Audre Lorde. She presently serves the community of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (NY) as a senior librarian at Brooklyn Public Library’s historic Macon Library and African American Heritage Center.
Taneya, like the West African griot, uses literacy and artistic expression as aplatform to preserve and provide access to knowledge, history and culture. She has developed early literacy programming that celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity, and emphasizes a communal responsibility in cultivating lifelong learners and readers. Taneya’s development of culturally-empowering programming also includes the coordinating of special events and programs for the Dionne Mack-Harvin African American Heritage Center, Brooklyn Public Library’s first community space dedicated to preserving the history and culture of the African Diaspora. In addition, she frequently presents on the topics of librarianship and literacy as tools of social and cultural activism.
Prior to her role as senior librarian, Taneya served as Brooklyn Public Library’s communications specialist, creating organizational messaging and managing external communications to public officials and community stakeholders. Before joining the public service sector, she honed her writing and editing skills as a copy editor and staff writer in the newsrooms of Knight Ridder Inc. Her journalistic and editorial writing has appeared in the Kansas City Star, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Belleville News-Democrat, and on AUCAlumni.com. She is a featured essayist in the 2012 release “The Black Librarian in America:Challenges of the 21st Century.” Taneya also facilitates bi-weekly creative writing workshops for Brooklyn youth.
In 2006, Taneya was named one of the American Library Association’s Spectrum Scholars. She currently serves on the executive board of the New York Black Librarians Caucus, leading various initiatives for the organization including the Caucus’ fundraising campaign for Historically Black College & University libraries damaged by Hurricane Katrina. In 2010, she organized Brooklyn Public Library’s response to the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti, and in 2011 led grassroots efforts to expand the collection of books and media at Macon Library.
Taneya holds a B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College (C’2002) and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Drexel University. Taneya and her husband, Yusuf Muhammad, a New York City school administrator, reside in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn with their daughters.