On Being Black, a booklet listing more than 100 books, dozens of filmstrips and recordings about the black experience, is now available through the New York Public Library system.
The 19-page booklet, which includes brief descriptions of each listing, has one criterion: "All must relate to the world of young people and be currently in print," says Ruth Rausen, coordinator of young adult services for the library. The last list of black books, according to Rausen, was printed in 1970 and most of its entries are no longer in print.
The new list includes books on:
*Contemporary fiction, such as Leroy and the Old Man by W.E. Butterworth, about hiding from a gang and beginning a new life; Motown and Didi by Walter Dean Myers, about how helping each other work out their problems leads to love for two Harlem teen-agers; and Soul Brothers and Sister Lou by Kristin Hunter, about a teen-ager at loose ends who finds herself through forming a successful singing group.
*Music -- from cultural histories to how-tos on break-dancing and "rappin'."
*Poetry -- includes classics by Countee Cullen and James Weldon Johnson and powerful contemporary work by June Jordan.
*Sports -- includes works about Doctor J, Dwight Gooden and Sugar Ray Leonard.
*History -- including black roots in Africa, slavery and South Africa today.
Recordings are grouped by soul, rock, folk, blues, gospel, jazz, classical, opera and musicals -- "Aida" to "The Wiz."
When Rausen set out to compile On Being Black, she and her committee were startled to find only 112 quality books for black teen-agers in print, compared to 2,000 titles in their standard books-for-teens pamphlet.
"We meant this as a buying guide, and we did it to put the publishing "world on guard, to let them know there's still a need for black books," says Rausen.
The avalanche of requests for the booklet has given Rausen a sense of satisfaction. "Publishers tell me the black movement is over," she says, "and my reply is: But blacks aren't."
To order On Being Black, send $3 plus $1 handling charge to Office of the Branch Libraries, The New York Public Library, 455 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016.