Wayne State University

Kafi Kumasi

Assistant Professor
(313) 577-1146 (Phone)
313-577-7563 (Fax)
3rd Floor Kresge Library

Profile Picture for Kafi Kumasi


At Indiana University, Kafi Kumasi was a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Fellow through a partnership between the School of Education and the School of Library and Information Science. Her dissertation research, Seeing White in Black: Examining Racial Identity Among African American Adolescents Through a Culturally Centered Book Club, was a sociolinguistic ethnographic study that examined racial identity among thirteen African American middle and high school students inside a book club that centered on exploring Black culture and experiences through young adult novels. She was also the principal investigator on a research project within the Indiana School of Library and Information Science. "Stories We Tell: Culture, Race, and Youth Services in the LIS Curriculum," details her qualitative pilot study exploring how a group of pre-service librarians think about multicultural education as it relates to their role serving ethnically diverse youth in library settings. Kumasi also received an IMLS-funded scholarship to obtain her MLIS at Wayne State, while working as a school media specialist, through a partnership between the former Library and Information Science Program and the Detroit Public Schools. Prior to entering graduate school, she was a high school English teacher at Southeastern High School of Technology in Detroit.


Alongside teaching school library (LIS 7320) and research methods (LIS 7996) courses, Dr. Kumasi has helped  to deveop the new graduate certificate in urban librarianship (ULC). 

During a recent interview on WDET, Dr. Kumasi  discusses the emerging role of urban librarianship in the revitalization of inner city communities.

Below are other recent pieces of thought leadership Dr. Kumasi created in the field of school and urban libraries.


Degrees and Certifications

  • B.S. in Education from the University of Michigan, 1999
  • MLIS from Wayne State University, 2003
  • Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana University, 2008

Recent Publications

Kumasi, K. (Feb 2014). Connected learning: Linking Academics, popular culture, and digital literacy in a young urban scholars book club. Teacher Librarian, 41 (3), 8-15.

Kumasi K. (in-press). Educating urban librarians in a “post racial” era: A Counternarrative. Urban Education.

Braun, L., Hartman, M., Hughes-Hassell, S., & Kumasi, K. (2014). The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action. A YALSA report. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/yaforum/project-report.

Kumasi, K.D., Charbonneau, D.H., Walster, D. (June 2013). Theory talk in the library science scholarly literature: An exploratory analysis, Library & Information Science Research, 35 (3), 175-180. 

Kumasi, K. & Hill, R. F. (March 2013). Examining the hidden ideologies within cultural competence discourses among library and information science students: Implications for school library pedagogy. School Libraries Worldwide, 19 (1), 128-139.

Kumasi, K. (August 2013).  "The Library is Like Her House": Reimagining youth of color in LIS discourses. In Bernier, A. (Ed) Transforming Young Adult Services: A reader for our age (pp.103-113). Chicago, Il: Neal Schuman.

Hughes, Hassell, S., Kumasi, K. Rawson, C. Hitson, A. ( Sept 2012). Building a bridge to literacy for African American male youth: A call to action for the library community. [ Federal Grant Report ] Retrieved from http://sils.unc.edu/sites/default/files/news/Sandra%20hughes-hassel%20projectFinal.pdf

Kumasi, K. (May/June, 2012). Roses in the concrete. A critical race perspective on urban youth and libraries. Knowledge Quest, 40 (5), pp. 32-37. 

Kumasi, K. (March 2012). Double consciousness: The context and consequences of Black identity in the Obama Era. In Thomas, E.E. & Tatum S.R. (Eds.) Reading African American Experiences in the Obama era: Theory, advocacy, and action (pp 51-67) New York: Peter Lang; Black Studies and Critical Thinking Imprint.

Franklin Hill, R. & Kumasi, K. (December 2011). Bridging the gaps: Measuring cultural competence among future school library and youth services professionals [electronic resource]. School Library Media Research, 14, 16 pp print. 

Kumasi, K. (November 2011). The impact of libraries on young adults: Toward a critical research agenda [electronic resource]. The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, 2 (1) 4 pp print.

Kumasi, K. & Franklin Hill, R. (October 2011). Are we there yet? Results of a gap analysis to measure LIS students' prior knowledge and actual learning of cultural competence concepts. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 52 (4). 251-264. Paper Received 2011 ALISE Best Conference Paper Award.

 Carter, S. & Kumasi, K. (April 2011). Double reading: Young Black scholars responding to whiteness in a community literacy program. In Kinloch, V. (Ed). Urban Literacies: Critical Perspectives on Language, Learning, and Community (pp72-90). New York: Teachers College Press.

Kumasi, K. (Mar 2011).Critical race theory and education: Mapping a legacy of scholarship and activism. In Levinson, B. A.U. (Ed). Beyond Critique: Critical Social Theories and Education (pp 196-219). Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.

Kumasi, K. ( November 2010). Cultural inquiry: A framework for engaging youth of color in the library[electronic resource]. The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, 1(1). 8 pp print

Kumasi, K. (April 2010). Urban public school libraries and educational reform: The case of the Detroit Public Schools[electronic resource]. Urban Library Journal, 16 (1). 15pp print

Kumasi, K. (2008) Seeing White in Black: Examining racial identity among African American adolescents in a culturally centered book club. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University, United States -- Indiana. Retrieved May 9, 2010, from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text.(Publication No. AAT 3344582).

Carter, S., Damico, J. and Kumasi, K. (2008). The time is now!: Talking with Black youth about college. Voices from the Middle, 16(2),47-53.

Kumasi-Johnson (2007) Critical Inquiry: Library Media Specialists as Change Agents. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 24(7). 42-45.


Awards and Honors

2011 ALISE Best Conference Paper Award

2009 National Center for Institutional Diversity Exemplary Scholar Citation

2006-2008 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Fellow

2006-2008 National Council for Teachers of English- Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color Fellow

Academic Interests

School Library Media; Urban Libraries and Education; Multicultural Education; Issues and Trends in Childrens and Young Adult Literature; Social and Cultural approaches to Adolescent Literacy Development.


Areas of Expertise

School Librarianship

Urban Education

Research Methods

Multicultural Issues

Research Title

Cultural Competence and Library and Information Science Education

Research Project

 This pilot study was conducted to examine library and information science (LIS) students' perceptions of their level of preparation for becoming culturally competent LIS professionals. Aproximately 130 LIS students participated in an electronic survey, which contained a Likert scale measuring three areas of cultural competence: self-awareness, education, and interaction. A gap analysis technique was employed to detect discrepancies between students' prior knowledge and actual learning relative to cultural competence. Students indicated that all of the concepts introduced in this section were important to learn but their level of knowledge gained varied from no or low levels to moderate levels of actual learning. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 52 (4). 251-264. This paper also received the 2011 ALISE Best Conference Paper Award.