Jump to ULC Race and Social Equity Statement | Booklists

The library promotes racial and social equity. We encourage and facilitate access and information for all.

ULC Race and Social Equity Statement

In the wake of recent events in cities around the country, it’s important to acknowledge the role of public libraries in facilitating racial and social justice in their communities. The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library will continue to honor our commitment to ensure everyone is welcome, treated with respect, and has the opportunity to live their best lives through learning and literacy at their public library.

It’s also important to note this commitment is endorsed and led by the library’s leadership. In October 2017, the library’s Board of Trustees signed on to the following statement from the Urban Libraries Council (ULC). The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, along with many other nationally recognized libraries, is a member of the ULC.

— Gina Millsap, Chief Executive Officer

Racial Justice Book Club
Racial Justice Book Club
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As leaders of North America’s public libraries, we are committed to achieving racial and social equity by contributing to a more just society in which all community members can realize their full potential. Our libraries can help achieve true and sustained equity through an intentional, systemic and transformative library-community partnership. Our library systems are working to achieve equity in the communities we serve by:

  • Eliminating racial and social equity barriers in library programs, services, policies and practices
  • Creating and maintaining an environment of diversity, inclusion and respect both in our library systems and in all aspects of our community role
  • Ensuring that we are reaching and engaging disenfranchised people in the community and helping them express their voice
  • Serving as a convener and facilitator of conversations and partnerships to address community challenges
  • Being forthright on tough issues that are important to our communities

Libraries are trusted, venerable and enduring institutions, central to their communities and an essential participant in the movement for racial and social equity.


Recently we asked our community to help us build lists of books to broaden our perspectives on race and inclusion.

Many booklists are being posted online, but we wanted to know what our friends and neighbors would recommend for each other. On Facebook we asked readers to share both fiction and nonfiction, for all ages, that share the stories and voices of people of color. The response was tremendous, ranging from picture books, literary fiction, and stories of everyday life to hard hitting examinations of systemic injustice.

We’ve pulled the suggestions together into lists. We’re certain you’ll find a great book among the many listed here.

Is one of your favorites missing from the recommendations? Email us at ask@tscpl.org and we’ll add it to the list.