Published: Feb. 23, 2022

From 1984 to 2000 Clara Villarosa managed the Hue-Man Experience Bookstore in Denver, Colorado — a celebrated Black-owned bookstore specializing in books that represented African American authors. Recently, Tattered Cover Book Store locations have sought to revive the Hue-Man Experience as a service helping individuals, organizations and businesses discover underrepresented titles and authors. 

This year, the University Libraries have partnered with Tattered Cover to purchase titles that highlight authors, experiences, and stories from Black, Indigenous and People of Color.  Through this partnership, the Libraries expect to add approximately 125 titles from diverse authors, writers and artists to its collections broadly. 

“One of the primary strengths of a library like the University of Colorado Boulder is in the breadth and depth of its collection,” said Juleah Swanson, acting lead of the Collections Management Team. “The creation of such a collection over time requires seeking out businesses that are able to support us in both supplying books that may be overlooked from larger businesses and in providing curatorial guidance and suggestions. We have these types of partnerships with some international vendors, but less so with local businesses.”

Swanson learned the Libraries purchased books from the original Hue-Man Experience bookstore in the 1990s and early 2000s. She said the revitalization of this partnership fills gaps within the Libraries’ collections. 

“Working with the revived Hue-Man Experience at Tattered Cover is an example of how we may be able to work with local businesses to develop collections that speak to students and our local community over time,” she added.

Tattered Cover has partnered with Villarosa and her family to have them provide lists of books that they want to highlight. So far, the Libraries have acquired nearly 30 titles, including essay collections, books of poetry, literature, cookbooks and more. 

“The concept of the whole learner inspires the Libraries to purchase collections that support students intellectually, socially, civically, and psychologically,” said Amanda Rybin Koob, literature and humanities librarian. “We hope this collection will nourish our community, and encourage learners to explore and find meaning both inside and outside of the classroom.”

This collaboration is unique in that it brings together an academic library, a Black-owned independent bookstore and expert curators who are invested in Colorado communities. Kwame Spearman, CEO of Tattered Cover, says it was important to bring the Hue-Man Experience back to the community. 

"Our goal is to introduce readers to old and new Black voices,” Spearman said. “I personally cannot think of a better example than partnering with CU, which has a robust student body that is engaged and desiring to learn and read about these stories and authors. We're honored CU Boulder wanted to work with us."

Explore the additions to our collection by checking out this resource guide.