DeKalb Library compiles list of anti-racist resources


Patrick Murphy

By Jacob Baker

The DeKalb Public Library’s Board of Trustees released a news release June 16 on their stance against inequality and current events along with also an extensive list of anti-racist resources ranging from books to movies either online or by curbside pickup. 

In the wake of the disturbing deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others, the DeKalb county alongside many others across the U.S. are calling for the end of inequality and racism, while also shining a spotlight on the structural change this nation needs to consider. 

The DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St, stands with all those who condemn racist acts towards black people and people of color within DeKalb county and around the world, according to the DeKalb Public Library’s Board of Trustees news release.

The fight against racism has been going for generations upon generations, so the DeKalb Public Library has compiled a vast list of anti-racist books and films that pertain to all ages in hope to educate community members and inspire them to take actions for the greater good, according to the release. 

“The board felt this was an important statement to make,” library director Emily Faulkner said. “We have a very diverse staff and we serve all of the different people in DeKalb which is diverse and increasingly diverse. It was important to come right out and say we hope that everybody knows that public libraries are here to serve everyone and we try very hard to have a wide view of viewpoints. At this particular time and place, we felt that we come out and say explicitly that we value people of color and their contributions.” 

Within the list of resources are many books geared toward children of all ages. It’s an opportunity for parents to educate their kids on some very public issues through a medium parents often choose to teach their kids valuable life lessons through, Faulkner said. 

“I was taking my daughter on a bike ride through campus and she was asking what the names were written on the sidewalks.” Faulkner said. “Right on the spot I had to explain who these people were and why these things are being done right now.” 

The list isn’t a list with every book that pertains to racism and has black characters but it does cover a lot of ground, and for those looking to look past the list, the DeKalb Public Library is always willing to help find more resources at their disposal, whether it’s books or films, Faulkner said. 

The list covers fiction and non-fiction books for children, fiction and non-fiction books for teens, non-fiction books for adults and a set of films and series to discover. 

For a fight that has been going on for more than 400 years, books allow people to learn more about the history this nation has experienced with racism. Through documentation young readers can begin to understand significant leaders who have made a huge impact on that fight. 

People are starting to realize how little they actually know. There are entire sections of history many of us don’t know about. Despite a good education growing up, I never knew about the Tulsa Race Massacre, Faulkner said. 

“One of the things that I really enjoyed about putting together this resource list was seeing how many of those books were on hold.” Faulkner said. “There was a lot available but there was a lot checked out, so I think there are a lot of people taking those steps to educate themselves and I hope that continues.”