Jul. 29, 2016 12:58 pm

How the Free Library’s social justice librarians are supporting #BlackLivesMatter

Librarians began sourcing books, websites, blog posts and images to help interested parties explore Black culture after the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.


(Photo by Flickr user Théo Paul, used under a Creative Commons license)

Want to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement and don’t exactly know how? The Free Library‘s got your back.

Following the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile earlier this month, FLP curator Chris Brown said librarians began wondering what they could do to show support for the Black community.

“Philadelphians always list the Free Library as the most trusted of the city agencies, and there’s a reason for that. Nobody goes into library work because they want to be a millionaire or hide in a dark corner. The people on the front lines are there because they want to make a difference,” Brown said. “Communities change and grow not by a lot of rhetoric but by rolling up your sleeves. It’s not always an easy job because a lot of people have ideas as to what kind of a difference we should be making.”

So, in their free time, Brown and his fellow librarians began curating resources — books, websites, blog posts and images that help folks explore Black culture — in hopes that they can better understand and appreciate the movement.

Check it out

Coincidentally, a national movement called Libraries 4 Black Lives is also underway and soliciting feedback for how libraries can help support #BlackLivesMatter. Brown said the Free Library is also looking for community input.

“By no means is this page currently everything we could be doing,” Brown said. “But it’s a start.”


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