ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 12, 2020) — The City of Anaheim has publicly condemned the tragic death of George Floyd and welcomed thousands who have peacefully expressed themselves in our city.
Those statements speak for our entire city, including Anaheim Public Library.
The library’s role is to promote exploration, discussion, understanding and education, including on issues of diversity and cultural understanding.
We are committed to creating an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for our community.
Racial equity has been a significant topic of conversation among Anaheim Public Library staff this year.
Before this moment, Anaheim Public Library developed three goals toward racial equity: 1) Staff training on racial equity 2) Expanding books in the collection that represent the languages that make up Anaheim 3) Increasing outreach to underserved neighborhoods in Anaheim.
Developing these goals as an organization will help us better serve the needs of our community.
The Library has a diverse Racial Equity team, with members at each branch. Our work so far has included a Collection Diversity Audit that has started with our Teen collection.
We have audited several thousand books, and ordered new books to fill gaps in our collection representing diversity of experience and identity. This project is ongoing and will result in reader advisory lists based around specific diversity topics: race, ethnicity, religion, LGBTQ, physical health, mental health, socio-economic status (including adoption, incarceration, gang affiliation, etc.).
Anaheim Public Library has provided meaningful engagement opportunities for our community to gather together, read a shared book and have a dialogue about issues that matter.
In 2019, we led our city in a communitywide reading and dialogue on “A Lesson Before Dying,” a novel that explores the African American experience in Louisiana in the years after World War II. The book is an unflinching look at racial injustice and prejudice, and our exploration of “A Lesson Before Dying” advanced understanding of black struggles in our country. The author Brandy Colbert shared her voice as a black woman and LGBTQ ally, inspiring more than 300 attendees.
National Council of Negro Women, which generously provided expertise and programming. Especially noteworthy was the panel discussion, Barrier Breakers: Black Women in Legal Professions, with lawyers and a judge sharing their challenging and courageous journeys. More than 8,000 residents engaged in community events over the course of this month-long, series.
Also in 2019, we cohosted “I am an American: Japanese Incarceration in a Time of Fear,” an exhibit of photos, artifacts and personal stories of Japanese American families from Anaheim incarcerated during World War II. The exhibit laid bare a tragedy of American history, but also celebrated the triumph of the families who overcame it.
Anaheim Public Library is committed to providing books that are timely and useful to our community. Our collection has grown to reflect the diversity of our community with the inclusion of people of color authors. We are in the process of sharing book recommendations for all ages on social media, supporting our communities and creating opportunities for dialogue.
You can also check out our eBook collection on cloudLibrary, which has a featured shelf of eBooks and audiobooks entitled Diversity, Inclusion and Race.
Below, is a sampling of the materials from our collection that can help promote better understanding and compassion for all.
Find a full list of books in the Library Catalog here.
Our next step in service will be to share book recommendations on Facebook and Instagram. Last week we filmed a middle-grade booktalk, which will be posted on social media on June 16, at 10 a.m. The books highlighted are “Front Desk” by Kelly Yang, “Clean Getaway” by Nic Stone, and “Indian No More” by Charlene Willing McManis.
The booktalk features authors who implement the “own voices” narrative, which is an important genre in children’s literature and education. We are in the process of sharing book recommendations for all ages on social media, supporting our communities, and creating opportunities for dialogue.
You can also join us on Facebook and Instagram Live for two upcoming all ages storytimes on social media.
We serve a proudly diverse community and celebrate the rich cultural mix of Anaheim and our nation in what we do.
We, like others, are reflecting on this moment and will move forward with greater understanding.