Public libraries serve as trusted institutions grounded in social responsibility and the public good. In recognition of this, the Chatham Area Public Library Board of Trustees approved our signing onto the Urban Libraries Council Statement on Race and Social Equity, which commits the Chatham Area Public Library to:
- Eliminating racial and social equity barriers in library programs, services, policies and practices
- Creating and maintaining an environment of diversity, inclusion and respect both in our library systems and in all aspects of our community role
- Ensuring that we are reaching and engaging disenfranchised people in the community and helping them express their voice
- Serving as a convener and facilitator of conversations and partnerships to address community challenges
- Being forthright on tough issues that are important to our communities
The work toward racial justice and the advancement of equity for everyone can start with a book, an article, a film, or an idea. Our library collection offers patrons new perspectives and experiences on race, ethnicity, gender identity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ability, culture, language, geographic origin, level of education, religion, age, and size. The curated resources from our catalog below may help guide your exploration and action around race, justice, and equity.
- Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center's Learning Together page- K-12 resources bringing brings history, art and culture to you through innovative community-focused experiences.
- Race and Cultural Diversity in American Life and History- A free course offered through Coursera.
- Project Ready- A free online professional development curriculum
- Code Switch NPR Podcast hosted by journalists of color. They explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between.
- Springer Nature Black Lives Matter Collection- A collection of books, journal articles and magazine content that amplifies Black voices and the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum
- National Museum of African American History & Culture - Talking About Race
Film Discussion Kits
Through our Film Discussion Kits, the Library hopes to support the community in exploring and discussing various social justice topics through documentary film viewings. Documentaries can bring issues and ideas nearer to their viewers, and discussions provide the opportunity to engage and connect with others around important issues.
Each Kit contains a DVD and discussion guide with questions, watch-alikes, and space for note taking. To read more about them check out our Library of Things page.
by Megha Majumdar
An attack on a train leaves 104 people dead. Jivan is a bright woman from the slums. She is wrongly accused of planning the attack when she makes a careless comment on Facebook. Lovely can provide the alibi that will set Jivan free, but her appearance in court has unexpected consequences. A story about the corrosive media cycle that creates falsehoods that masquerade as truth.
Libby -- E-audiobook
The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang
When Big Leo, the owner of Fine Chao restaurant is found dead--presumed murdered, his three sons are reunited and fall under suspicion of the town and police, and must reckon with the legacy of their father's outsized appetites and own future survival.
Libby -- E-book
A Good Neighborhood by Therese Fowler
The single mother of a mixed-race college student and a thriving business owner with a troubled daughter clash over a historic oak tree on their property line and the blossoming romance between their children.
Hoopla -- E-audiobook
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
Two estranged siblings must set aside their differences to deal with their mother's death and her hidden past -- a journey of discovery that takes them from the Caribbean to London to California and ends with her famous black cake.
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
After completing her Ph.D. in astronomy, Grace Porter, a young, straightlaced, Type A personality, black woman goes on a girls' weekend to Vegas to celebrate where she gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn't even know.
Our Missing Hearts: a novel by Celeste Ng
From the number one bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere, a deeply suspenseful and heartrending novel about the unbreakable love between a mother and child in a society consumed by fear.
Solito: a memoir by Javier Zamora
A young poet reflects on his 3,000-mile journey from El Salvador to the United States when he was nine years old, during which he was faced with perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions during two life-altering months alongside a group of strangers who became an unexpected family.
The School for Good Mothers: a novel by Jessamine Chan
After one moment of poor judgment involving her daughter Harriet, Frida Liu falls victim to a host of government officials who will determine if she is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.
Libby -- E-book
The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict
Hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library, Belle de Costa Greene becomes one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she keeps.
The Bad Muslim Discount: a novel by Syed M. Masood
A homesick Pakistani immigrant chafing against the strictures of his family's new devout Muslim life in California and a young woman who barely escaped war-torn Baghdad upend their community in the aftermath of a fateful chance encounter.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
A reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel follows the experiences of a courageous socialite in 1950s Mexico who is drawn into the treacherous secrets of an isolated mansion.
Don't Cry for Me: a novel by Daniel Black
As Jacob lies dying, he begins to write a letter to his only son, Isaac. But most of all, Jacob must share with Isaac the unspoken truths that reside in his heart. He must give voice to the trauma that Isaac has inherited. And he must create a space for the two to find peace.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father--despite his hard-won citizenship--Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.
Grown: a Novel by Tiffany D. Jackson
When legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots Enchanted Jones at an audition, her dreams of being a famous singer take flight. Until Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night. Who killed Korey Fields? Before there was a dead body, Enchanted's dreams had turned into a nightmare. Because behind Korey's charm and star power was a controlling dark side. Now he's dead, the police are at the door, and all signs point to Enchanted.
Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez
Seventeen-year-old Camila Hassan, a rising soccer star in Rosario, Argentina, dreams of playing professionally, in defiance of her fathers wishes and at the risk of her budding romance with Diego.
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Seventeen-year-old Elatsoe, "Ellie," can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. The picture-perfect façade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.
Ain't Burned Up All the Bright by Jason Reynolds
A smash up of art and text that viscerally captures what it means to not be able to breathe, and how the people and things you love most are actually the oxygen you most need.
One True Loves by Elise Bryant
While on a post-graduation Mediterranean cruise with her family, Lenore Bennett meets a hopeless romantic with a ten-year plan who helps her find something she's been looking for -- love.
Vinyl Moon by Mahogany L. Browne
When Darius told Angel he loved her, she believed him. But five weeks after the incident, Angel finds herself in Brooklyn, far from her family, from him, and from the California life she has known. Angel feels out of sync with her new neighborhood. The only place that makes sense is Ms. G's class. There, Angel's classmates share their own stories of pain, joy, and fortitude. And as Angel becomes immersed in her revolutionary literature course, the words from novels like The Bluest Eye and Push speak to her and begin to heal the wounds of her past.
Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen
Transformed by the goddess Yemoja into a Mami Wati, an African mermaid charged with collecting the souls of those who die at sea, Simi goes against the gods to save a living boy, Kola, from drowning.
Libby -- eBook
Living Beyond Borders: Growing Up Mexican In America edited by Margarita Longoria
An anthology of short stories, essays, poetry, and comics about the Mexican American experience.
Huda F Are You? by Huda Fahmy
Huda and her family just moved to Dearborn, Michigan, a small town with a big Muslim population. In her old town, Huda knew exactly who she was: She was the hijabi girl. But in Dearborn, everyone is the hijabi girl. Huda is lost in a sea of hijabis, and she can't rely on her hijab to define her anymore.
Black Was the Ink by Michelle Coles
Despondent sixteen-year-old Malcolm finds new strength and courage as he is transported between his family's modern-day Mississippi farm and the life of his ancestor Cedric Johnson, a congressional aide in post-Civil War America.
Putting Peace First: Seven Commitments to Change the World by Eric David Dawson
Includes seven strategies that children can use to make an impact in their communities and promote peace and tolerance.
A Life of Service: The Story of Senator Tammy Duckworth by Christina Soontornvat
Discover the inspirational and barrier breaking life of Senator Tammy Duckworth in the this tribute to an extraordinary woman.
The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander
Young Kofi lives and dreams on the banks of the river Offin. It is in the river that he feels invicible and where he thinks he can finally prove himself in a race against his schoolyard rival. But the river also holds dark secrets that Kofi will soon discover.
Black Boy, Black Boy: Celebrate the Power of You by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond
Illustrations and rhyming text encourage Black boys to learn about the accomplishments of famous men in Black history and then forge their own paths. The last two pages provide information on the accomplishments of the eight men mentioned in the book.
Bilal Cooks Daal by Anoosha Syed
Bilal and his father invite his friends to help make his favorite dish, daal, then all must wait patiently for it to be done.
Susie B. Won't Back Down by Margaret Finnegan
Roll with It meets Absolutely Normal Chaos in this funny, big-hearted novel about a young girl’s campaign for student council president, told through letters to her hero Susan B. Anthony.
Soul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham
Granny teaches her young grandson how to cook the family meal, in this celebration of food, traditions, and gathering together at the table. Includes recipe for baked macaroni and cheese.
Room for Everyone by Naaz Khan
Musa and his sister travel to a Zanzibar beach in a shared minibus which, despite Musa's protests, gets loaded with everything from a man and his bicycle to ten swimmers.
Mighty Inside by Sundee T. Frazier
Melvin Robinson wants a strong, smooth, He-Man voice that lets him say what he wants, when he wants-especially to his crush Millie Takazawa, and Gary Ratliff, who constantly puts him down. But the thought of starting high school is only making his stutter worse. And Melvin's growing awareness that racism is everywhere-not just in the South where a boy his age has been brutally killed by two white men, but also in his own hometown of Spokane-is making him realize that he can't mutely stand by. His new friend Lenny, a fast-talking, sax-playing Jewish boy, who lives above the town's infamous (and segregated) Harlem Club, encourages Melvin to take some risks-to invite Millie to Homecoming and even audition for a local TV variety show. When they play music together, Melvin almost feels like he's talking, no words required. But there are times when one needs to speak up.
Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story of Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano
Something Happened in Our Town follows two families — one White, one Black — as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children's questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives.
Hoopla -- Audiobook
The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
There lived a girl named Petra Peña, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita. But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children – among them Petra and her family – have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race. Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet – and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity's past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard – or purged them altogether. Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again?
Hoopla -- Ebook