March 18, 2018

Ira Revels | Movers & Shakers 2006


‘I remember walking to class one morning and making a deal with God,’ says Ira Revels, who worked two jobs to get to library school. ‘I agreed that if He helped me, I would put in 100 percent effort. I’m very thankful for how things have turned out thus far!’

‘When I came to Cornell,’ Revels explains, ‘I was so hyped about the profession.’ She put that enthusiasm to work right away, conceiving a six-week summer 2002 Junior Library Fellows program that introduced eight local high school students of color to the field. ‘She doesn’t just talk about how we can make the profession grow,’ says Angela M. Gooden, of the University of Cincinnati, ‘she takes action to make it happen.’

Revels’s involvement with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), where she is now an officer, reflects this passion; her first professional committee assignment was with the recruitment and professional development committee. She helped implement BCALA’s ‘Night Out,’ a social event introducing prospective members to the caucus before the general ALA annual membership meeting.

Revels’s current project, the HBCU Digital Library Initiative – for which she helped secure grant funding – trains library staff at historically black colleges and universities in building collaborative digital collections. Trevor Dawes, of Princeton University, says, ‘Ira gets to combine two of her passions: the use of technology to enhance service and the need to preserve the historical records of the black ­experience.’


Current Position Project Manager, HBCU Digital Library Initiative, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Degrees MLIS, University of Pittsburgh, 2001; M.Ed., Instructional Design, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, LA
Professional hero Dr. E.J. Josey, ‘because he has encouraged so many people of color to work in this profession’