How does a library respond to a community in deep crisis around race and social justice? That’s the question that Richland Library in Columbia, S.C., grappled with in 2017. Recognizing that there was no single answer, they launched initiatives on multiple internal and external fronts. Starting with a Social Awareness Taskforce, geared toward community engagement and courageous conversations, they explored topics surrounding social and criminal justice, women’s rights and race. By using innovative approaches like Circles of Dialogue and mobile empathy labs, nearly 1,500 people have participated in the library’s race, equity and inclusion programming. To further their efforts, they have also focused internally, empowering staff to lead the charge to understand their biases, macroaggressions, and cultural competence through Let’s Talk gatherings, Check Your Bubble worksheets, and other effective tools. Hearing how Richland Library moved the needle on honest dialogue, empathy, and equity with their staff and community, you will be inspired to dig in and do the work at your own library.
Presented by: Richland Library (SC) staff, including Tamara King, Community Relations Director and 2019 Library Journal Mover & Shaker; Ci Ci Holloway, Human Resources Director; and Dee Robinson, Director of Library Experience, Branches.