Catching up with...Robyn Reed

Publication Date

Robyn Reed is an associate librarian and head of Access Services at Schaffer Library. In addition to providing library instruction and research consultation, she has oversight of the circulation, reserves and interlibrary loan department. Her research interests include Afrofuturism, black speculative librarianship, horror noire and ethno gothic cinema/television.

Robyn Reed with her children Henry and Emma.

Robyn Reed with her children Henry and Emma.


Reed came to Union in 2011. She brought her now-96-year-old mother, Dorothy, to the area along with her. She has two amazing and woke adult children, Emma and Henry. She also lives with her insane dog Ignatz Ratskywatsky (aka Iggy). You may know this reference if you are a Preston Sturges fan.

FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING: Spotify. I realize this is a controversial app but until there is a better - more equitable - platform for music, I am sticking with Spotify. I need something to get me moving in the morning. Caffeine is cool, but I need rhythms to get my blood circulating.

ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES: “Max Havelaar” by Multatuli. I used to read it once a year until I read an article that challenged folks to read books exclusively by BIPOC authors. When I discovered that I was unfamiliar with a few of the names on the list of recommended authors, I took the challenge and haven't looked back. I have been on a steady diet of reading only books by BIPOC authors for four years. Except for when I read “Lovecraft Country” by Matt Ruff.

BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED: "No matter where you go, there you are." I pretty much live my life by the teachings of Buckaroo Banzai.

FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS: If I told you that, EVERYBODY would go there, right?! Let us just say that I found a lovely spot near the arts buildings. Some of my campus colleagues have seen me working there. Mum's the word!

GO-TO BREAKFAST: Grits - proper grits not that instant nonsense - smothered in butter with a lot of salt, pepper, and a little cayenne and hot biscuits with honey. It is a meal that I picked up from my grandfather, who was originally from Louisiana.

NETFLIX OR AMAZON: Neither. I am not a fan of Amazon and Netflix is fine for documentaries. I am a Criterion person but I am seriously thinking about a subscription to Shudder. I am not happy unless I can access good/bad sci fi and horror. I mourn for all of the great horror films that have virtually disappeared from television.

FAVORITE PODCAST: I am a HUGE fan of podcasts, so I can't possibly decide on a single one: Nerds of Color, Tight Rope with Tricia Rose & Cornel West, Lovecraft Country, Echt Gebeurd, The Infinite Monkey Cage, Other Planes: Afrofuturism (naturally) and Snap Judgment to name a few.

ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD: I wish that I could play the guitar the way Eddie Hazel plays it in Parliament Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain." It is electric perfection!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PANDEMIC DIVERSION/ACCOMPLISHMENT: Preparing for and teaching my FYP on Afrofuturism this Winter. I am so thankful to the students who made the class such a fabulous experience. Plus, there is something deeply gratifying about introducing students to Parliament Funkadelic!

BEST PART OF YOUR DAY: Walking my dog Iggy in the evening, then settling down to watch campy sci-fi movies.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT YOU: I am a member of Children's International Summer Villages (CISV), an international, peace-through-friendship organization. I have been a member since I was 10 years old, when I traveled to Luxembourg with the Detroit Delegation. It changed my life, and I must say that I have good friends on every continent. It is an extraordinary group dedicated to peace, anti-racism and erasing bigotry.