Skip to main content

Upcoming Events

BSA programs take place both in-person and online. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Society has canceled in-person events and is exclusively hosting virtual events for the time being. This page will be updated with details about resuming in-person events when it is safe to do so. Registration is required for all of the virtual events.

In all BSA events, the material text – that is, the handwritten, printed, or other textual artifact, broadly conceived – as historical evidence, and/or the theory and practice of descriptive, historical, and/or critical bibliography, should be a central concern to participants and organizers.

All of the events listed below will be live captioned in English, with accompanying machine-generated translations of live-generated captions into Spanish. Additional options may be offered, read full description for more information.

To request ASL interpretation for any event, please email

Upcoming Virtual Events: Spring 2022 (listed chronologically)

      Black Bestselling Books: An Interview Series on the Essence Book Project

      In 1994 Essence Magazine began publishing a list of bestselling fiction and non-fiction books as a response to mounting frustrations Black writers and readers had with the American publishing industry. Beyond luminaries like Toni Morrison and Alice Walker publishing for African American authors was nearly impossible. The EBSL was compiled from sales data shared by Black owned bookstores in the United States and Canada. The Essence Book Project, launched in 2016, uses digital technology to reframe the utility of the EBSL to include a computationally conceptualized view of the Black literary landscape at the turn of the twenty-first century. The project is both a digitized version of the EBSL and a growing archive of electronic copies of each title ranked on the list.

      Join the Bibliographical Society of America in a series of conversations on the Essence Book Project. This series is variously co-sponsored by the project on History of Black Writing, the Black Women’s Studies Association, the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography, and the Women and Gender Studies program at the University of New Orleans.

      April 5, 2022 – 3pm ET/2pm CT/12pm PT (Zoom Webinar)
      The Toni-Terry Problem with Black Books: A Conversation with Essence Bestsellers’ Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant
      (Moderated by Jacinta R. Saffold, co-sponsored by the Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography) – Registration & Speaker Bios

      Bestselling co-authors Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant will consider how breakout authors like Toni Morrison and Terry McMillan came to define, and at times constrain, the field of popular African American literature, the impact of resources like the Essence Bestsellers’ List on their work, and the industry’s way forward.

      December 8, 2021, 4-5:30pm (Zoom Webinar) POSTPONED: Check back for the new date & time or register now to receive updates by email. The Magic of Editing Black Bestselling Books: A Conversation with Dawn Davis and Jacinta R. Saffold – Registration & Speaker Bios

      Jacinta R. Saffold facilitates Dawn Davis—now Editor-in-Chief at Bon Appetit—sharing her experiences editing numerous titles that went on to dominate the Essence Bestsellers’ List, including how she made editorial decisions amidst the terrain shifting from print to digital books.

      Touch to See: A Nineteenth-Century Book for Blind Readers – June 3, 2022 @ The Swem Library, William & Mary – Register by May 10

      An in-person, half-day workshop proposed to the Events Committee & led by Dr. Amanda Stuckey, Assistant Professor of English at Central Penn College in Harrisburg, PA. Attendance is open to all at no charge.

      We often think of sight-impairment as a barrier to literacy, but as early as the 1800s, US educators experimented with raised-print (or embossed) text books that blind and low-vision students could read by touch. Today, these tactile books stand as reminders that text is a material and multi-sensory experience. In the workshop “Touch to See: A Nineteenth-Century Book for Blind Readers,” we will consider the production, use, and physical state of one of these books, an 1836 New Testament embossed at what is now the Perkins School for the Blind and held at The College of William & Mary’s Swem Library Special Collections Resource Center. This workshop centers the experience of encountering this unusual tactile book (whether by sight, touch, or both) in order to discuss what it means to read by touch. Examining the range of textual and material decisions surrounding this New Testament, we will consider tactile books as, on the one hand, representative of the uneven (and often ableist) power structures that put them into print. On the other hand, however, tactile books also represent early efforts toward Universal Design, and workshop participants will also consider nineteenth-century understandings of access and inclusive learning. Overall, this workshop aims to broaden our expectations for books and how we read them.

      Registration is open to in-person participation at Swem Library in Williamsburg, VA, and online participation through Zoom. Zoom participants will receive workshop materials in advance of June 3 at the email address provided at registration. The BSA will share a Zoom link on June 3, granting online participants live access to the workshop from 9:45am-2:15pm EST. Please direct any questions to Amanda Stuckey at

      Recorded Virtual Events Available on YouTube

      Click here to peruse the playlist of recorded webinars on the BSA’s YouTube Channel.

      The Society is working to be sure that accurate captions in English and Spanish are uploaded for YouTube videos within 2 to 3 weeks of posting online. Thank you for your patience as we work through the kinks in implementing this new program!