Educate Yourself About Black History By Visiting Your Local Library
Your library is one of the best places to get educational materials about Black history.
Your local library is a fantastic resource during Black History Month! Your library can help you stay involved and adequately educate yourself during this monumental time. Here’s why you should visit your local library during Black History Month and beyond.
Black History Month 2023
The month of February is a time to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of Black people in U.S. history. Black History Month began with historian Carter G. Woodson before being formally recognized in 1976. Other countries like Canada and the United Kingdom have their own month designated for Black history.
Black History Month always centers around a theme, with last year’s being Black health and wellness. The theme for 2023 is “Black Resistance,” discussing how African-American people have confronted ongoing oppression. This year’s theme will explore topics of racial terrorism in the United States, such as lynching, police killings, and racial pogroms.
Black History Always Matters
Although February is a time to bring Black history to the center of attention, educating yourself all year is essential. Much of Black history has been left out of everyday teachings. However, Black History Month was created as an act of resistance. Celebrated historian Carter G. Woodson came up with the idea to make Black history more accessible.
In other words, knowledge comes with power, and understanding the past helps everyone understand what needs to be achieved today. Black history informs, inspires, and remembers both accomplishments and challenges of the United States’ past. Take the initiative and educate yourself all year long, not just during the month of February.
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Libraries Participate in Black History Month
Many librarians create book displays that revolve around Black History Month. These may include relevant books, posters, or historical information. While libraries will almost certainly display popular bestsellers, they may also use Black History Month to showcase some less recognized prominent figures. Books and library materials feature various people like Black activists, inventors, and artists. Librarians also do a fantastic job at displaying books for every kind of reader. These may include biographies, children’s literature, or young adult fiction.
Participating libraries do their part to update their website to acknowledge Black History Month. Consider browsing their digital collection if you’d like to find library materials outside the physical building. For example, your local library may have an online catalog of materials available for interaction. If their website features a blog, content may be devoted to topics surrounding Black history and recommended reading materials. Otherwise, many library websites include links to resources outside their services to support all patrons’ needs.
While libraries are dedicated to books, it’s important to remember that they usually house many other materials that could be relevant to Black History Month. For example, you can borrow a movie discussing important milestones in Black history. You can also utilize other materials, such as museum passes, CDs, or online databases that help you research Black history.
Your local library may devote the month of February to hosting various events centered around Black history or literature. Examples include discussions with Black authors along with public readings of their work. Libraries may also take the month as an opportunity to educate patrons through specific courses. For example, the Oakland Public Library in California hosts their annual Black Culture Fest during Black History Month. This celebrates and acknowledges all aspects of Black history, including food, music, and literature.
Getting Involved at Your Local Library
Books are some of the best and most accessible forms of information. Thankfully, libraries allow you to obtain these materials for free! If you don’t consider yourself an avid reader, there are plenty of opportunities to participate that don’t include literature. Regardless of how you choose to get involved, making time for it during February is essential. Better yet, get into the habit of making it a part of your consistent routine!
Pay Attention to Upcoming Events
Your local library most likely features a calendar of regular and upcoming events. If you need help finding it, seek out your librarian for more specific information. These will almost certainly include events related to Black History Month. Examples include author readings, book clubs, or relevant, library-hosted classes. Libraries often provide a community event board that showcases upcoming activities within your neighborhood. Even if it isn’t hosted by your library, this can help you participate in Black History Month within your surrounding community.
Participate in Family-Friendly Activities
Librarians are experts at developing activities catered to all age groups. If you have younger children or adolescents, get them involved with Black History Month. Be a positive role model and encourage them to engage with Black history beyond February, even if they’re also learning about it in school. Visit your local library to see if they have family-friendly events such as diverse storytimes, relevant arts and crafts, or age-appropriate book clubs.
Engage With History
Did you know that many libraries allow you to check out museum and park passes for free? This could be an incredible opportunity for you to learn something new! Find out if your library is hosting dedicated historical exhibits or of any similar opportunities at nearby museums. If something piques your interest, your library could let you access these displays for free or at a discounted price!
Libraries are heavily involved with Black History Month. They will always have the materials you need to be a lifelong learner. While it’s vital to acknowledge Black history during its given month, you should always try to educate yourself all year long.
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