Roberson, Gloria Grant 1945–

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Roberson, Gloria Grant 1945–

PERSONAL: Born February 6, 1945, in East Meadow, NY; daughter of William M. (a laborer) and Lillie Alzona (a police matron; maiden name, Cofield) Grant; married Clifford Roberson; children: Glorianne Roberson Tobi, Cynthia Lynne, Clifford Daniel. Ethnicity: "African American." Education: Adelphi University, B.S. (magna cum laude), 1980, M.S. (education), 1987; C. W. Post College of Long Island University, M.S. (library science), 1984. Politics: Democratic. Religion: Baptist.

ADDRESSES: Home—133 E. Greenwich Ave., Roosevelt, NY 11575. Office—Swirbul Library, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY 11530. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Writer. Adelphi University, Garden City, NY, administrative assistant, 1981–82, head of student employment, 1982–84, head library personnel officer, 1984–87, assistant professor, 1988–94, associate professor, 1994–, coordinator of reference services, 1989–92, and reference librarian at Swirbul Library. Hofstra University, adjunct assistant professor, 1985–; workshop director. People to People International, delegate to South Africa, 1997.

MEMBER: American Library Association (and its Black Caucus), Black Women in Higher Education, Toni Morrison Society (charter member), National Council of Women (member of board of directors; Web page editor, 2004), Nassau County Library Association (member of executive board, 1996).

AWARDS, HONORS: Person of the Year Award, Third World Arts Student Association, 1991; Septima Clark Commitment to Service Award, 1995; Bench by the Road Award, 2003, and Book Award, 2004, both from Toni Morrison Society, both for The World of Toni Morrison: Guide to Characters and Places in Her Novels.


Legal Research: Interpreting the Paper Chase, Nassau County Library Association (Nassau County, NY), 1990.

(With Carol Schroeder) Guide to Publishing Opportunities for Librarians, Haworth Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The World of Toni Morrison: Guide to Characters and Places in Her Novels, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2003.

Contributor to reference books. Contributor to library journals and other periodicals.

SIDELIGHTS: Gloria Grant Roberson told CA: "The process of writing mentally and emotionally consumes me. Even as a child, I had the proclivity for recording thoughts and impressions. When I write, I literally escape into a world with creative license that revitalizes and challenges me. The idea of putting my thoughts/ideas on paper for readership is empowering. In a way, it fashions the launching of a kite, unsure of the heights to where it will soar. For me, writing is a personal and intimate form of expression that I choose to share with readers. Within the process, there is a coexistence that only the author and reader share.

"When I write biographical essays, I literally become engrossed in subject study (real or fictional). I commune with the subject in a way that allows me to capture the true essence of the person. The process is spiritual in nature as I search for meaning beyond the obvious. Over a long period of time, the work in The World of Toni Morrison: Guide to Characters and Places in Her Novels, was exhaustive and intense. Toni Morrison has an enormous range of knowledge about mythology, folklore, history, philosophy, and religion. Readers must study and read between the lines in order to comprehend the literary challenge that Morrison sets before them on the pages of her novels. My goal was to aid the readers and researchers by providing a resource to accompany the novels that would identify common themes within and across Morrison's novels. Separately and distinctly, one by one, I had to read all seven novels many, many, many times in an attempt to understand each character's place and meaning within the story line. The intensity was necessary for discovery and illumination. I wanted to experience every detail of each character's existence and, ultimately, they peopled my thoughts as I recorded my impressions. Nothing was taken for granted. I lived vicariously within each era, every word, page, and persona.

"There are many notable and insightful authors whose works have stood the test of time and, by their sheer existence, serve to mentor aspiring authors. Some are contemporary and others are historical, all of them counseling and sharing through their creative genius. Morrison writes with a sense of eclectic cultural awareness that transcends generational mores. Alice Walker soulfully depicts life as a black woman with all of the traps and treasures. Maya Angelou is a novelist who writes with a profound authority that can never be challenged by time or culture. I also admire Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and James Baldwin for their boldness and visionary depictions of life. Through intellectual lenses, they filter characters that depict personal triumph through painful, yet insightful journeys. Anyone who recognizes and experiences the passionate rewards of writing will find the spirit of mentoring everywhere in the works of notable authors.

"Naturally, as a trained academic librarian, I begin my writing process with an inquisitiveness that sparks my imagination. In researching, there is always more to know as the process of discovery leads to questioning that leads to questions that must be answered. I envision myself as a form of enlightenment for my readers as I transform mystery into meaning. I believe that researching and reading about eras, events, and people gives meaning to the writing process.

"I thrive best in the world of discovery. I am always looking for meaning behind the obvious. On a college campus, my professional role is to help students understand the need for information literacy. Initially students are motivated to write because of assignments and grades, but for some the sparks of inquiry are ignited through the process. Writing ultimately becomes a means of expression unrelated to academic commitments. Intellectual gaps in literary and historical discourse are most prevalent within the academic environment where inquiry and research reign.

"Time is my only constraint as I search to contribute to the world of knowledge."