Solange Knowles’ Saint Heron launches a library of rare books and works by Black Authors

Whitney Alese
Published in
2 min readOct 26, 2021

Solange Knowles has been preserving, celebrating, and amplifying Black Culture in unique and powerful ways. Beyond her own music, her Saint Heron creative studio has preserved the legacy of Black creatives of the past while granting a platform to today’s pioneers through performance art, music compilation production, podcasts, and beyond since 2013. Saint Heron is furthering its preservation efforts by launching into the Free Library space with the Saint Heron Community Library.

Beyond a mere collection of books, the Saint Heron Library is unique in that it is “a growing media center dedicated to students, practicing artists and designers, musicians and general literature enthusiasts.” The library will feature a rotating collection of unique, signed, rare, or hard to find literary works by Black authors.

The Saint Heron Library’s first “season”, launched mid-October, features a collection of out-of-print works by Black authors, including but not limited to novels, poetry collections, history books, art anthologies, and zines curated by Rosa Duffy, the founder of Atlanta’s For Keeps Bookstore.

Some of the works currently available include a copy of Octavia Butler’s Clay’s Ark, Langston Hughes’ Shakespeare in Harlem, several poem collections by Audre Lorde, Gwendolyn Brooks’ Children Coming Home, Ntozake Shange’s A Daughter’s Geography among many other anticipated titles.

“We believe our community is deserving of access to the stylistically expansive range of Black and Brown voices in poetry, visual art, critical thought and design,” Saint Heron says of the library. “The library’s focus is education, knowledge production, creative inspiration and skill development through works by artists, designers, historians, and activists from around the world.”

Of the premiere collection, Rosa Duffy says: “For this Saint Heron Library collection, it was really focusing on the people that we know and love, but we might not know the details of what they do. So highlighting these artists, I think that’s really important, because then you get to the different mediums and the different spaces that we can move throughout that we might not always be affirmed that we can move through.”

The collections are slated to be offered seasonally and include selections by various guest curators. The Saint Heron Library’s collection of “rare, author-inscribed, and out-of-print literary works” is currently available be borrowed up to 45-days for free exclusively to U.S. based readers.

For more information, head to Saint Heron.

Whitney Alese
Writer for

Whitney Alese is a writer & podcaster, featured in WIRED Magazine (Sept 2020) & I-D Magazine (Dec. 2021), and NBC (Jan 2023). She is based in Philadelphia.