Race & Social Equity Resources
The Chatham Area Public Library believes that public libraries, as trusted institutions grounded in values including but not limited to democracy, social responsibility, and the public good, play an important role in acknowledging and addressing systemic racism and the advancement of social equity. We recognize that, as the Illinois Library Association points out, a “statement without action is empty” and that our work must be ongoing. As part of this journey, our Board of Trustees at the January 18, 2021 meeting, approved our signing onto the Urban Libraries Council Statement on Race and Social Equity whose bullet points will act as guideposts for decisions as we move forward.
The work toward racial justice and the advancement of equity for all can start with a book, an article, a film, or an idea. We have curated the following list of resources available to you through our catalog and beyond as your exploration and action around race, justice, and equity progresses.
- 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.
- Intersectionality Matters! - Intersectionality Matters!, a new podcast hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw, is an idea travelogue that brings the concept of intersectionality to life.
- 1619 - An audio series observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery.
- Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum
- National Museum of African American History & Culture - Talking About Race
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.
Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang
A memoir about Wang's years living undocumented after immigrating with her parents from China to New York City in 1994.
Call Us What We Carry: Poems by Amanda Gorman
A collection of poems that includes the stirring poem read at the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States.
Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris --(Book on CD)
In the waning days of the Civil War, two freed brothers are hired to work on the farm of a husband and wife who are grieving the loss of their son in the war.
OverDrive – E-Book
Buses are a comin’: memoir of a freedom rider by Charles Person
A surviving original Freedom Rider recounts his firsthand experiences with the South's historical and ongoing resistance to racial equality, sharing insights into what is required for progressive change to become possible in America.
cloudLibrary -- E-Book
White Ivy: a novel by Susie Yang
Years after she is sent away from Boston to China for shoplifting, a conflicted Chinese-American woman reconnects with her golden-boy childhood crush before a ghost from the past threatens her ambitions.
Library on the Go -- E-Book
Evicted: poverty and profit in the American city by Matthew Desmond
A Harvard sociologist examines the under-represented challenge of eviction as a formidable cause of poverty in America, revealing how millions of people are wrongly forced from their homes and reduced to cycles of extreme disadvantage that are reinforced by dysfunctional legal systems.
Library on the Go -- E-Book
My broken language: a memoir by Quiara Alegria Hudes
This is an inspired exploration of home, family, memory, and belonging, narrated by the obsessed girl who fought to become an artist so she could capture the world she loved in all its wild and delicate beauty.
El Norte: the epic and forgotten story of Hispanic North America by Carrie Gibson
A sweeping saga of the Spanish history and influence in North America over five centuries.
Hoopla -- E-Book
Earth keeper: reflections on the American land by N. Scott Momaday
A Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and poet celebrates the oral tradition of his Native American culture as he recalls the stories of his childhood, passed down for generations, and their profound and sacred connection to the natural world.
The kindest lie: a novel by Nancy Johnson
Needing to reconnect with the baby she gave up for adoption years earlier, an Ivy League-educated Black engineer uncovers devastating family secrets before her bond with a young white misfit scandalizes her racially torn community.
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.
Library on the Go: 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.
Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Saenz
In Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, two boys in a border town fell in love. Now, they must discover what it means to stay in love and build a relationship in a world that seems to challenge their very existence.
A Face for Picasso: Coming of Age with Crouzon Syndrome by Ariel Henley
At only eight months old, identical twin sisters Ariel and Zan were diagnosed with Crouzon syndrome -- a rare condition where the bones in the head fuse prematurely. They were the first twins known to survive it. Growing up, Ariel and her sister endured numerous appearance-altering procedures. Surgeons would break the bones in their heads and faces to make room for their growing organs. While the physical aspect of their condition was painful, it was nothing compared to the emotional toll of navigating life with a facial disfigurement. Ariel explores beauty and identity in her young-adult memoir about resilience, sisterhood, and the strength it takes to put your life, and yourself, back together time and time again.
The Awakening of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson
The Awakening of Malcolm X is a powerful narrative account of the activist's adolescent years in jail, written by his daughter Ilyasah Shabazz along with 2019 Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe award-winning author, Tiffany D. Jackson.
CloudLibrary -- Audiobook
hoopla -- Audiobook
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.
CloudLibrary -- Audiobook
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?
CloudLibrary -- Ebook
Hoopla -- Ebook
Juneteenth by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Describes how the holiday of Juneteenth began and discusses its traditions, symbols, how the holiday has changed and and how it is observed today.
Hoopla -- Ebook
The Water Lady by Alice B. McGinty (ages 4-8)
Cody is worried when his family on a New Mexico Navajo reservation runs out of water, but Darlene Arviso, called "The Water Lady," is on the way with her tanker truck. Includes glossary of Navajo terms and notes about Arviso and life on a reservation.
CloudLibrary -- Ebook
Keeping it Real by Paula Chase (ages 8-12)
Marigold Johnson is looking forward to a future full of family, friends, and fashion—but what will she do when it all explodes in her face? When she discovers that her entire life is a lie?
Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith (ages 8-12)
A collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.