by Ash B. and Christie L.
Enrich your summer at the Equity Resource Center! Visit for the books, movies, music – and exhibits. The space upstairs at Central Branch purposefully has plenty of room for exhibits that focus on equity issues. If you missed our previous one, Undesign the Redline, you can still view a video tour on YouTube. Make time to see the new show and attend the related classes:
BRAVE STORIES EXHIBIT
Stories shape narratives. Narratives shape perceptions. Perceptions shape actions.
Whether they are told around a campfire, around a kitchen table, or online, stories have the power to move people to tears of sadness or tears of joy and to action. At Howard County Library System, we are a home for brave stories and a place to be heard. We provide a platform for people to tell their stories. This helps to better inform perceptions, develop new narratives, and re-position equity as the ideal state of being from which everyone benefits.
HCLS is a safe space for racial equity work, but real progress begins with you. You have the power to lead, share, and connect. As we move forward as a community in Howard County, we have the chance to extend equitable treatment to those around us. How are you helping to improve life in Howard County?
Start by making room for new stories. Visit the new Brave Stories exhibit in the Equity Resource Center at the Central Branch. Read about your neighbors’ experiences. Take the time to listen to their Brave Stories—and share your own.
We invite you to respond to the exhibit in a series of art workshops, each using a different material, with facilitators from Notre Dame of Maryland University’s Art Therapy Department. Attend one or both workshops: Tuesday, Jul 26 and Thursday, Aug 4.
We also invite you to share your own stories in a facilitated circle. Bring your experiences and insights, listening ears, and an open mind and heart to one or more sessions: Wednesday, Aug 3; Saturday, Aug 13, and Saturday, Aug 20.
EQUITY RESOURCE COLLECTION
If you haven’t already read it, you might want to check out my previous post about the Equity Resource Collection.
The second floor at Central Branch houses the adult fiction of the Equity Resource Collection, along with its adult nonfiction, DVDs, and CDs. More than 900+ adult fiction titles span all genres, including classics, bestsellers, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, romance, mystery, fantasy, and science fiction.
Like other areas of the Equity Resource Collection, some of these titles specifically center equity issues such as racism, whereas others feature diverse characters and authors. Whatever genre or style of novel you enjoy, there is a great read for you here. One of my favorites is Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson, which I actually reviewed in-depth in a previous blog post. If you like poetic and tender novels, this is a must-read.
As excited as I am about fiction, I’m even more interested in the nonfiction section – partially because of how many of these titles are exclusive to the Equity Resource Collection. While these items can be requested for pickup at any HCLS branch, browsing in person offers the opportunity to find an amazing book more by chance.
When you head into the Equity Resource Center, the nonfiction collection rests to the right. You can find introductory guides to equity issues, history books, academic texts, memoirs and biographies, art books, cookbooks, and more.
For folks who are beginning to explore these topics, I recommend:
- Anti-Racist Ally: An Introduction to Action & Activism by Sophie Williams for unpacking complex concepts and learning how to practice anti-racism in your daily life.
- Demystifying Disability by Emily Ladou for learning about the vast diversity of disabilities, what language to use, and how to move toward accessibility and inclusion.
- Gender: Your Guide by Lee Airton for explaining gender identity in a comprehensive and digestible way and discussing how to create a more gender-friendly world – for everyone!
For readers who are ready to delve deeper, some terrific title:
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- Inventing Latinos: A New Story of American Racism by Laura E. Gómez
- The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee
- The Women’s House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison by Hugh Ryan
- The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer
Are you more of a film lover than a reader? Well, no worries. The ERC has you covered, too.
From indie films to big-budget productions, you have a variety of choices from multicultural movies and movies that center Black history. While most titles are for adults and teens, there are kid-friendly favorites such as Moana and Coco as well.
If you’re interested in TV series or nonfiction DVDs, look for the shelving close to adult nonfiction. With titles from distributors such as HBO and PBS, including Stonewall Uprising and The Central Park Five, this section is worth checking out if you appreciate a good documentary.
For the music lover, the ERC includes CDs, shelved next to the nonfiction DVDs, from artists past and present, across genres. For the pop fan, check out Sawayama by Rina Sawayama, a contemporary singer-songwriter who is Japanese-British and bisexual.
If you like rock, blues, soul, or gospel, a must-listen is Shout Sister Shout by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, “The Godmother of Rock’N’Roll,” who pioneered music in the 30s, 40s and 50s by combining electric guitar with spiritual lyrics – providing the foundations for subsequent artists like Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley.
Whether you’re a fan of Latin music or someone in your family still can’t get enough of the Encanto soundtrack, check out Cumbiana by Carlos Vives, the beloved Colombian singer-songwriter whose song “Colombia, Mi Encanto” plays at the end of the 2021 Disney hit movie.
Think our collection is missing an important title? Go to hclibrary.org/contact-us/ and “Make a purchase suggestion” – after you submit the online form, it will be reviewed by one of our materials selectors as a potential addition.
Ash is an Instructor & Research Specialist at Central Branch and is a co-facilitator for Reads of Acceptance, HCLS’ first LGBTQ-focused book club. Their favorite place to read is spread out on a blanket under the shade of the tree.
Christie is the Director of Communication and Partnerships for Howard County Library System. She loves walking through the network of pathways in Columbia, sitting on the beach, and cheering for the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Aggies football team.