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“Anti-racist” books hard to find at the library these days

Jun 12, 2020, 6:11 PM | Updated: 6:28 pm
An open book on a table in the library...
Alpine School District pulls dozens of books from the library. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY —  How To Be An Anti-Racist, White Fragility, The New Jim Crow.  Libraries along the Wasatch Front say hard copies for books like these have flown from their shelves.  They say in the wake of the global George Floyd protests the desire to read anti-racist books is skyrocketing. 

Demand

“The demand has increased significantly, the hold list is up significantly,” said Peter Bromberg, the Executive Director of the Salt Lake City Public Library.  So much so that for some anti-racist books, they’ve gotten a budget bump to buy more. 

“We’re [spending] $6000 to buy additional copies,” he said.

Bromberg also said they are upping their contracts with digital publishers where there is no hold list. 

The same thing is going on at the Provo Public Library.  Assistant Director Carla Gordon, said they are “trying to keep their holds under a couple of months”  for anti-racist materials.  “We’ve been buying more audio and downloadable e-books.” 

People Want to Learn

“I think people are curious … they really want to educate themselves,” Bromberg said.  

“An elderly gentleman specifically said ‘I see what’s going on and I want to learn more'” Bromberg said, recounting a phone call he had recently, “He asked one of our staff to stay on the phone with him and read some newspaper articles with him.” 

Gordon agrees and thinks parents are especially interested.  “I think a big part of it is how to talk to their kids, what they’re seeing, and how to have those conversations,” she said.

One book she noticed that’s popular from the Provo Library is “Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together At The Cafeteria?” 

The Salt Lake City Public Library has a reading list of anti-racist titles  as well as a guide for parents and teachers to give children a positive structure to view what’s happening today

 

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“Anti-racist” books hard to find at the library these days