Continuing the conversation, increase in readers utilizing books as resource on racial topics


UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – With conversations about race spiking across the country, many people have been turning to books as a resource.

“The main focus of developing a library collection is to make sure you have a diverse enough collection to make sure meet the needs of your community,” said Andrea Ingmire, Library Director, Peter White Public Library.

The Peter White Public Library in Marquette has many of their books on the topic checked out, with reservations placed on some of them for many weeks.

“We strive to build and make available diverse collections on everything from religion to philosophy to cultural traditions and that not only includes books in the physical books in our library but also DVDs and also our e-resources, some materials available on Libby and Kanopy and so we want to make sure that people have access to these resources in as many ways as possible,” said Samantha Ashby, Adult Services Department Head, Peter White Public Library.

Libby, the library’s eBook and audio source is currently making four books available with no limits.

The New Jim Crow, Me and White Supremacy, The Hate You Give and So You Want to Talk About Race,” Ashby said are the four books.

In the Copper County, The Portage Lake District Library in Houghton has developed some featured collections in their digital catalogs of eBooks and audiobooks related to race.

We are seeing an increased interest in those sort of titles from our patrons,” said Dillon Geshel, Library Director, Portage Lake District Library. “For example, two of the five most circulated titles our online catalog have been books that deal with race and inequality in the last 30 days. I did run a report this morning to the top ten books that have circulated since we started allowing patrons to check out materials again and one of those titles is a really popular title that deals with race relations right now, Between the World and Me.”

The Peter White Public Library also has a list of their website of related resources for adults and children. They say they see trends like this often.

“Whenever there is something going on in our country or something going on locally, our collection responds,” said Ingmire. “And part of that response is people put a lot of holds on materials. Generally it’s kind of a targeted selection that people are suddenly very interested in.”

The Peter White Public Library encourages people to place holds on books they are interested in to give them an idea of what kind of books people are interested in and if they need to get more.

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