Understanding Racism

As librarians, we are committed to providing curated resources in all formats to our community. It is our intention that these resources can provide education and context about the events of the spring of 2020 which brought awareness of systemic racism against Black Americans to the forefront. We stand with the American Library Association (ALA) in their #LibrariesRespond initiative and wish to share the following statement from their website:

"In late spring 2020, amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, people across the world gathered in large and small demonstrations to protest the murder of George Floyd and draw attention to the ongoing systemic issue of police violence. The protests calling for justice give voice to trauma and justified anger in Black communities terrorized by centuries of police violence and anti-Black racism. Although the pandemic-induced threat of layoffs and high unemployment, lack of health resources, challenges in education, and insecure housing are new to many, Black and Brown communities across the nation have had to contend with these challenges as daily facts of life. The librarian profession suffers from a persistent lack of racial and ethnic diversity that shows few signs of improving. In 2018, just 6.8 percent of librarians identified as Black or African American. Many people are feeling helpless, but there are many ways that we can center the voices and experiences of Black library workers, the Black community, support the broader Black Lives Matter movement, fight against police violence, and help the cause of racial justice."

American Library Association Tweet

We offer these resources as a starting point to understanding systemic racism in America, and to offer reading lists which put Black voices at the center. Educating ourselves and our communities about racism, and learning to have difficult conversations with one anther about the impacts of racism, is an important component of building a more just future for all Americans.

Please read The Caroline County Public Library Statement on Race and Social Equity

Resources for Children and Families

Resources for Adults and Teens

1619 ProjectThe 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery.

Anti-Racism Resourcs for All Ages – Compiled by Dr. Nicole A. Cooke, The University of South Carolina

Brookings Institution: George Floyd’s death demonstrates the policy violence that devalues Black lives

Jane Elliott: Diversity Educator

John Lewis: Good Trouble Film  – Using interviews and rare archival footage, this film chronicles Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. 

Maryland State Library – Racial Justice Resources Page

National Museum of African American History & Culture “Talking About Race”

NY Times Project: A Conversation on Race

JSTOR Daily: Institutionalized Racism: A Syllabus: How can we help students understand George Floyd’s death in the context of institutionalized racism?

The New York Public Library Schomburg Center’s Black Liberation Reading List

Smithsonian Magazine’s 158 Resources to Understand Racism in America

Teaching for Change – Teaching #Blacklivesmatter

List of Anti-Racism Resources by Alyssa Klein and Sarah Sophie Flicker