I am very excited to welcome our staff and the public back into the library building. Public access to the facility is still quite limited, but it is a step in the right direction. We will continue to evaluate the COVID-19 situation in the community and how our re-opening is working and make adjustments as we can. We certainly look forward to the day when we return to full public library access and the library can once again be a place to gather, make new friends, and share new ideas.
Recent events have reminded me of the power of books and imagination to change minds and to open hearts. Democracy and equitability are at the heart of library work, and we are grieved to see so many situations, both at home and around the world, where those basic principles are violated.
We have had requests from a lot of you for books about anti-racism, particularly about how to talk with your children about race and racism. I am working hard to bulk up that area of our collection, and you should see many new items arriving throughout the summer. In the meantime, here are some related recommendations from our staff available through our catalogue:
- More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams is a good introduction to different ethnicities for toddlers and babies.
- All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger is a scientific look at why we all have different skin colours for children ages 3+.
- Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged by Jody Nyasha Warner is a popular book in our collection that sheds light on racism closer to home with an important story of Canadian history.
- We also have a copy of Shannen and the Dream for a School by Janet Wilson, a good book for introducing systemic racism in Canada to children.
- Our library has a copy of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds on order. The engaging, clear prose shines a light on confusing subjects, including anti-blackness, racial capitalism, segregation, and anti-racism. (Ages 12 and up.)
- I just finished listening to The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton. This story manages to be horrifying and hopeful all at once. Hinton’s perseverance in the face of outrageous injustice is inspiring. The book is available on Libby or through the library catalogue. Also try Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Hinton’s lawyer (available on Libby, Cloud Library, or the library catalogue. There is also a film adaptation).
- Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Tagala. This book opened my eyes to one of the ways that Canada’s structures and systems have very real and tragic consequences for our Indigenous peoples.
- The Truth About Stories by Thomas King. An older title, this book is from the 2003 CBC Massey Lectures. With his trademark piercing style, King lays bare the misconceptions we unquestioningly embrace about Indigenous peoples based on the stories we are told. This book prompted me to examine what stereotypes have snuck their way into my belief system.
- For a light, summery read, Olivia recommends The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory. The book features a black author and black main character and handles race in a way that is not heavy-handed.
- Alex recommends Dear Martin by Nic Stone. It follows the experience of a high school-aged boy dealing with systemic racism, police brutality, and racist media coverage. She really enjoyed how this book takes you through realistic experiences in a way that feels unexpected and true to real life events. At only 210 pages, it’s an excellent quick read.
- Heather U. and Alex loved The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. It reveals firsthand experience of systemic racism in a way that is very eye-opening, using a relatable and lovable character. This is Overdrive’s Community Read right now until July 19th which means no waitlists for the ebook or digital audiobook.
- The other Community Read from Overdrive is Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad, which provides a framework for readers to dismantle the privilege within themselves.
Whatever you are reading these days, I hope it provides the inspiration, challenge, comfort, or joy you need right now. We hope to see you come through our doors soon!