AT THE LIBRARY: Books for essential conversations about racial justice

The deaths of Breonna Taylor in Louisville and George Floyd in Minneapolis have left most people outraged and disturbed.

Most people — black, white, Native American, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian — realize the process of eliminating racial divides begins by honestly acknowledging the injustices of the past, sincerely committing to speak to each other about how those injustices must be rectified and optimistically working, acting and speaking for equality.

Libraries have always been a primary resource for gathering information, refining plans and facilitating discussions about topics important to their communities.

If you’re planning a discussion about race and justice, use the resources at the Clark County Public Library.

For the last few years, with help from people with the Winchester Black History and Heritage Committee, Better Together Winchester and The Greater Clark Foundation, the library has been putting together book collections specifically designed to facilitate conversations about race, inequality and justice. Here’s how to access those titles.

One way is to go to the Library’s homepage, and click on the “Books and More!” tab at the top right.

You will see a drop-down menu with a link for “Recommended Reads.”

In that list, you will find a link called “Readings for Racial Justice,” which will display a list of 38 books that can be borrowed from the library or accessed through CCPL’s online e-book platforms.

If you have a group of friends, a book club or an organization that wants to read about and discuss racial justice, the library has multiple copies of 27 different titles shelved together for easy borrowing. There are four or five copies of each title.

To browse the titles available:

1. Go to the Library’s homepage:

2. Click on the “Books and More!” tab

3. Click on the “Catalog” link

4. On the main catalog page, at the very top left you’ll see “Advanced.” Click on that link.

5. At the top of the Advanced page is a banner for different search criteria. One is “All Collections.” Click on that box.

6. Scroll down the menu to “NF Book Club Kit-Diversity.” Select and click that entry.

7. Click “Search.” The titles available will appear.

Because of pandemic borrowing restrictions, a patron can only borrow one set of books at a time.

The library also has copies of some of the most important current books on racism, anti-racism and unconscious racial bias, including:

— “How To Be An Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi (call No. 305.800973)

— “Biased: Uncovering The Hidden Prejudice That shapes What We See, Think and Do” by Jennifer L. Eberhardt (call No. 303.385 Eber)

— “The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race” edited by Jesmyn Ward (call No. BK Ward)

— “Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race” by Derald Wing Sue (call No. BK Sue)

As always, if you’re having trouble using the library’s Webopac to find materials, contact me at; call the library at 859-744-5661, the reference desk extension is 111; or use the chat feature on the library’s home page.

Though the library is closed to the public, librarians will do everything they can to provide information and materials the community needs.

Take care. Stay safe. We’ll get through this together.

John Maruskin is director of adult services at the Clark County Public Library. He can be reached at