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Observing the National Day of Racial Healing

Libraries and Archives Observe National DAy of Racial Healing

January 18 is the National Day of Racial Healing. In its sixth year of observance, it is a time to contemplate our shared values and create the blueprint together for how we heal from the effects of racism.

Libraries, librarians, and book lovers across the country are participating in the National Day of Racial Healing to help advance a more just and equitable society, using their expertise, collections, and relationships to advance truth for teaching and scholarship, remembrance, community building, and healing. Here are a very few of their efforts to help foster racial healing and anti-racism in their communities and in their own spaces.

The American Library Association (ALA) has joined forces with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation enterprise to engage its members in racial healing to broaden and deepen their personal and joint commitment to social justice in equity, diversity, and inclusion. The Association has a variety of resources available, including reading lists on race and equality for all ages and reading levels and discussion questions for books including Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me and Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X, available for free through ALA’s Great Stories Club.

Oak Park (Ill.) Public Library works with a cross-section of stakeholders (including administrators, staff, patrons, board representation, and young adults) who collectively develop new protocols to shape the library’s strategic direction, plans, and policies. They meet regularly as members of the library’s Anti-Racism Advisory Team.

The Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Library has compiled a reading list inspired and largely informed by “Resources and Reading on Racial Justice, Racial Equity, and Anti-Racism” published by the Institutional Anti-Racism and Accountability Project at the Ash Center and in partnership with the HKS Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. The list is a starting place to find resources that speak to racial justice, racial equity, and anti-racism.

The Anti-Racism Digital Library serves as a clearinghouse for information resources about people, groups, and projects who are building inclusive and caring communities.

Jennifer Sturge, a specialist for school libraries and digital learning for Calvert County (Md.) Public Schools, shares anti-racist resources and books for school librarians and teachers at Knowledge Quest, the Journal of the American Association of School Librarians.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries offers “Disrupting Whiteness in Libraries and Librarianship: A Reading List,” an online bibliography of citations and links to resources focused on race, racism, and disrupting whiteness and white supremacy in libraries.

The Berthiaume family in Homewood, Alabama, started an antiracist library to promote racial justice and the importance of diversity in reading.

Laura Cameron, education librarian at University of Arkansas Libraries (UAL), has created an anti-racism and social justice research guide that includes lesson plans for K-12 teachers and relevant holdings from the UAL children's literature collection.

Visit your local library to find more resources and books on racial healing and how to become an anti-racist. Learn more about the National Day of Racial Healing here.

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