ASERL - (Not) Another Anti-Racist Reading Group: From Discussion to Action

When:  Feb 1, 2021 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM (ET)
Association of Southeastern Research Libraries present
(Not) Another Anti-Racist Reading Group: From Discussion to Action

Author and professor, Ibram X. Kendi wrote, “The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it — and then dismantle it."

In the months since the Black Lives Matter uprisings in the summer of 2020, much has been written about the use of reading lists and book clubs to educate and facilitate difficult conversations about racism, and much more has been said in the years leading up to these events. Reading groups are often proposed as a means of introducing people to new or challenging topics, and just as often criticized as an inadequate, feel-good band-aid that can be applied with little effort and little impact beyond individuals’ possible personal growth.

This panel shares the methods and outcomes of an antiracist reading group established by the UNC Greensboro Libraries Diversity Committee. By focusing on connecting concepts to the readers’ work in librarianship and addressing the issues within our workplace, our reading group sought to not just identify and describe racism but also identify the means by which we may work towards dismantling it within our own institution. Over the course of six months, this group produced a number of actionable/measurable goals based on conversations in each session, which resulted in the creation of a mentoring circles group, hiring practices committee, and antiracist resource library. This panel will describe our goal setting, facilitation methods, organization and activation strategies, as well as considerations for the future.


Melody Lee Rood is the Student Success Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Suzanne Sawyer is a Preservation Specialist at the University Libraries at University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Deborah Yun Caldwell is the Diversity Resident Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Juanita Thacker holds a MLIS from UNC Greensboro where she works as the Information Literacy Lecturer for the University Libraries.