In Orlando, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Falcon Heights, Minnesota; Dallas, and beyond, people are struggling to understand and cope with the tragic events of the past few weeks and their underlying causes. Often in the face of crisis, there is one place many turn to: their local library.
As it was last year in Baltimore, Maryland, and in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, librarians are connecting their communities to vital information and resources. The library is a place where patrons learn more about the issues at stake from credible sources, find quality books, take advantage of community resources, utilize safe spaces, learn from others, and engage in self-care as they confront one of the most difficult periods in recent memory.
The following are just a few of the many ways libraries are responding to community needs:
- Following the shooting of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, the Hennepin County (Minn.) Library (HCL) has remained open and invited the community to reserve space to meet. In addition, HCL compiled a #BlackLivesMatter Reads for Teens reading list of books that can serve as a springboard for discussing race, privilege, and justice.
- Following the July 7 police shooting, the Dallas Public Library offered counseling services at its Central Library and set up a toll-free counseling hotline.
- The San Francisco Unified School District library developed a LibGuide on teaching the #BlackLivesMatter movement, including lesson plans, readings, poetry, and official case documents as well as background information.
- Ramsey County (Minn.) Library hosted a lecture outlining the history of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, led by Macalester College Professor Duchess Harris.
How is your library helping? What programs or resources you would like to highlight? Share your story in the comments below, or tweet using the #librariesrespond hashtag.