SPL takes part in community reading initiative dealing with racism

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Southwest Public Libraries have joined eight other central Ohio library systems in a partnership to promote a community reading of “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds as part of a Let’s Talk About Race: One Book – One Community initiative.

Let’s Talk About Race: One Book – One Community kicked off on Nov. 9 and continues through Jan. 24, 2021 when the libraries will host author Jason Reynolds in a virtual author talk at 4 pm. Geared toward teens and adults, the initiative is designed to cultivate dialogue about race and social justice through shared reading experience and discussion.

During this 11-week program, each library will work with local schools and other community partners to promote reading and discussion of “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You.” Registration for the free virtual event with Jason Reynolds will begin in early January.

“This timely initiative invites everyone to participate and deepen their appreciation of reading while reflecting on social issues and connecting with friends, family, and neighbors through shared experiences and community conversations,” said Michele Lowe, assistant director of Westland Area Library. “At a time when the country seems so divided, we hope readers will find opportunities here to come together, listen, learn, and find common purpose to help strengthen our community.”

SPL and partner libraries have purchased hundreds of additional copies of “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” as well as prepared various programs and resources to support this community read. More information can be found at swpl.org.

About the Book
“Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” is a timely and accessible manifesto by bestselling author Jason Reynolds. While written for young people, this non-fiction remix of “Stamped from the Beginning” by Ibram X. Kendi is a timely read for people of all ages and is packed with relevant information that is poised to help promote dialogue and bridge the differences that divide us.

About Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynolds is an American New York Times bestselling author who writes novels and poetry for young adult and middle-grade audiences. He is a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors.

The Partnership
In addition to sharing resources, central Ohio libraries have a history of collaboration. A discussion that began in July 2020 of how to work together to increase community understanding and promote constructive dialogue on the topic of race in America resulted in this One Book – One Community program, which encourages friends, families and neighbors to share their personal experience while reading the same book. Participating libraries are: Bexley Public Library, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Grandview Heights Public Library, London Public Library, Plain City Public Library, Southwest Public Libraries, Upper Arlington Public Library, Westerville Public Library and Worthington Libraries.

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