A Virtual Exploration of Race and Representation in JMRL’s Collection

Join JMRL for the timely and important virtual program “Race and Representation in JMRL’s Collection” on Wednesday, August 5 at 7pm.

This panel discussion on racial diversity and representation in library collections, namely the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library system will be moderated by Siri Russell, Albemarle County Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Panelists will include four representatives from JMRL:

David Plunkett: Library Director
Angela Critics: Children’s Services Manager
Hayley Tompkins: Crozet Branch Manager
Meredith Dickens: Collection Manager

“JMRL looks forward to this opportunity to discuss the issues that must be confronted when reconciling the past practices of public library collections in America with the very real and diverse needs of the people of Charlottesville, Albemarle, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson,” said David Plunkett, JMRL Library Director.

This virtual discussion will explore current trends in collection development and Race & Representation (August 5, 2020)-page-001materials selection, how JMRL is endeavoring to break with the traditional white perspective/narrative to broaden its collection to ensure an inclusive body of own-voice materials that fairly reflect the opinions and stories of marginalized communities.

Discussion will also examine how literature and media can perpetuate racial stereotypes and the challenges libraries face in establishing a fluid and evolving collection of materials that meet the needs of ever-diverse communities seeking to speak on their own behalf.

Registration is required via http://www.jmrl.org or by calling 434.973.7893 x3. The program will be accessible on Zoom (online) or by a toll-free phone number.

This event will also be recorded and published on JMRL’s YouTube channel.

Celebrate Black History Month at JMRL

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.

Throughout the month of February, there are a number of book clubs and events being held at the JMRL branches to help celebrate.

For a list of what’s happening, visit JMRL’s Black History Month 2020 webpage.

There are other resources on this webpage, such as lists of African American authors and books, eBooks/Audiobooks, and resources for historical research.

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The poster above is an example of one of JMRL’s Black History Month events. This event will be at the Northside Library and more information can be found by visiting JMRL’s Facebook page.

 

Black History Month Reads

Every February since its inception in 1976, Black History Month has reminded us about the importance of the struggles, contributions, and achievements of African Americans throughout history. In celebration of Black History Month, here is a selection of novels about African Americans – both real and fictional – written by African American authors:

Dear Martin by Nic Stone – Profiled by a racist police officer in spite of his excellent academic achievements, a disgruntled college youth navigates the prejudices of new classmates and his crush on a white girl by writing a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the hopes that his role model’s teachings will be applicable half a century later.

Black Water Rising by Attica Locke – When African-American lawyer Jay Porter jumps into the bayou to save a drowning white woman in Houston, Texas, in 1981, he finds his practice and life in danger when he becomes embroiled in a murder investigation involving Houston’s elite.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – After Cora, a slave in pre-Civil War Georgia, escapes with another slave, Caesar, they seek the help of the Underground Railroad as they flee from state to state and try to evade a slave catcher, Ridgeway, who is determined to return them to the South.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty – After his down-trodden hometown is removed from the map of California to save the state further embarrassment, a young man undertakes a course of action to draw attention to the town, resulting in a racially charged trial that sends him to the Supreme Court.

Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay – Centers on the efforts by Harlem intelligentsia to organize support for the liberation of fascist-controlled Ethiopia. Continue reading