Ann Arbor District Library: New and ongoing projects attended to address anti-black racism

Here is a list of new and ongoing projects at AADL intended to address anti-black racism in our community, and support those who wish to learn more. New services and programs will be listed here as they are launched. If you have any ideas, questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us to discuss further.

New Initiatives

Black Lives Matter Discussion Series

This intentionally broad discussion series seeks to encourage and support community members in their exploration of and engagement with works that provide insight on anti-Black racism. Titles like White Fragility and So You Want to Talk About Race are intended be introductory texts in this conversation. We do not want anyone to be excluded from this series by a wait list, so these discussion groups will also include works that are available online. Similarly, if one’s busy lifestyle puts finishing a book in time for a scheduled session out of reach, we’ve identified relevant podcasts to discuss. This series will include classic works and new ones, nonfiction, fiction, poetry, movies and music. This project recognizes that anti-Black racism is systemic and woven through the fiber of our society. As such, a broad variety of materials can be used to explore one’s relationship to the theme.

Call for Stories: Anti-Black Racism

As archivists and historians, we know that certain topics infrequently make it into the long-term historical record.  The history of anti-Black racism is one of these topics.  As documentarians of our community’s history, we seek to fill in those gaps with first-person stories to provide a lasting record of this aspect of community life for the researchers of the future.  Some of these stories have been collected as part of the African-American Cultural and Historical Museum Living Oral History interviews, but there are many more stories to be collected and preserved.  As a result, AADL and the AACHM are putting out a Call for Stories on Anti-Black Racism.  We are looking for all stories of times you’ve experienced anti-Black racism.

Proposals for Public Artwork

AADL is seeking to commission paid artwork from Black artists to be displayed on the fencing along the Library Lane side of the library, and to invite these artists to contribute to AADL’s design projects on an ongoing basis.  Watch for a Call for Artists in July.

Ongoing Initiatives

African-American Cultural and Historical Museum Living Oral History Project

This partnership between the AACHM and AADL creates and provides a permanent home for interviews with prominent Black community members. These interviews serve as a road map illustrating what local African Americans witnessed, experienced, and contributed to building the community we share today. Now entering Phase 7, this project has so far collected 30 interviews.  The associated LOH Digital Collection presents historical materials from AADL’s Community Collections about major topics featured in the interviews, including Community Centers, Education, Housing, Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Faith.

AADL Newsletter Recommendations

Each week, AADL mails a newsletter to over 60,000 active patrons. This newsletter will feature recommendations for those looking to learn about anti-black racism each week, and work to increase interest in and access to these works.

OverDrive Ebooks and Audiobook Downloads

Check out these featured collections of ebooks and audiobooks from OverDrive:
Black Voices: Fiction Picks
Still Trying to Understand? Important Reads on Race

These digital resources can be accessed with your library card via OverDrive or using Libby, the free OverDrive app.