Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has unveiled a new systemwide initiative that will provide programming and materials to educate the community on topics centered around social justice and racial equity while featuring Black stories.
Simply titled ‘Black Lives Matter,’ the program aims to encourage conversations through book clubs, learning circles, book talks and discussion groups. The library says the information and resources provided through the initiative will help residents both learn and unlearn what is needed to build a better community.
“In June, the library released a statement committing to the hard work of promoting racial equity and helping to end systemic racism. We begin this month with our Black Lives Matter program,” said Caitlin Moen, library director and chief customer officer at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
“This is the most effective way the library can help our community – by providing unhindered access to free resources, materials, information and the safe spaces where difficult, yet important, conversations are cultivated and where change can happen.”
Each month, the library will feature a different author to examine their works through various programming.
For September, the system spotlights “The 1619 Project” essays, an ongoing initiative New York Times Magazine began last August to coincide with the 400th anniversary since the first ship with enslaved Africans arrived on America’s shores.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning project aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the country’s national narrative.
Other featured works will include “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison in October, “A Black Women’s History of the United States” by historian Daina Ramey Berry in November and “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America” by sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson in December.
“This programming initiative is one small piece of a much larger equity strategy for the library that includes not only Black lives but is inclusive of all people and voices of our staff and in our community,” Moen said.
The library says more information will be released in the coming weeks featuring additional authors and Black stories.
While the library’s locations are open with limited services and programming being online, they encourage cardholders to explore the system’s digital resources, including e-books and e-audiobooks, streaming TV, movies and music, online classes, and digital subscriptions to newspapers and magazines.
“We all have opportunities to grow and better understand the people around us with different stories than our own,” Moen said in a statement. “This will not be the only time the library focuses on a specific group of people in our programming, but right now we need to name the people in crisis and stand up to say Black lives matter.”
“It is imperative the library continues to contribute to a community dialogue that helps advance the fight against systemic racism and provides that space where people can discover, learn, connect, discuss and grow.”
Customers can find a calendar of events, book lists and other content related to current issues of social justice and systemic racism at cmlibrary.org/black-lives-matter-program.