Books to Check Out
February is Black History Month and Library Lover’s Month, which means it’s the perfect time to read the latest titles from black authors. Here are a few recent award winners and nominees to put on your list.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
The Yellow House: A Memoir, by Sarah M. Broom
Thick: And Other Essays, by Tressie McMillan Cottom
Solitary, by Albert Woodfox
The Tradition, by Jericho Brown
Pet, by Akwaeke Emezi
Look Both Ways, by Jason Reynolds
Ordinary Hazards, by Nikki Grimes
On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas
New Kid, by Jerry Craft
Genesis Begins Again, by Alicia D. Williams
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them, by Junauda Petrus
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, by Kwame Mbalia
The Undefeated, by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson
The Bell Rang, by James E. Ransome
Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace, by Ashley Bryan
Sulwe, by Lupita Nyong’o and Vashti Harrison
An Ode to the Library
Libraries have existed for thousands of years as a way to organize and share knowledge. Information has been stored on tablets, papyrus, scrolls, books, and now digital mediums, but that information has not always been free. In fact, back in the day, library books were sometimes even chained to desks.
Despite their long history, with the rise of the internet, libraries have faced significant hurdles. Some have downsized or even disappeared. But libraries aren’t dinosaurs any more than bookstores or physical books are. So long as we understand and appreciate their purpose, our libraries will never go extinct.
Libraries and bookstores are the hubs for the writing community. Libraries bring in authors for readings and lectures, often for free or at a low cost to attendees. Libraries also serve as meeting places for writing groups and solo authors who need a creative setting and relative quiet.
If you’ve ever wondered how to entertain a four-year-old for several hours, you just have to head to the library. Between hundreds of books to browse, story time, and other kid-friendly events, libraries make sure the little ones are taken care of.
Many libraries have gone beyond the handy computer bank to provide access to DVDs, audiobooks, ebooks, and more. Some libraries have book printing capabilities (like an Espresso Book Machine) or even 3-D printing capabilities.
From knitting workshops to plant seed swaps to financial planning classes, libraries host infinite programs for their patrons. If you’re interested in starting a group or class at your library, reach out to the staff and get the conversation going!
A library offers a public gathering space for the community. Whether it’s a city council meeting or a study group, the library welcomes them all.
Library used book sales are like affordable treasure hunts. Talk about a great way to stock your shelves (or your own Little Free Library!).
Even with a worldwide web full of resources, there’s still a ton you can learn at the library. Study rare books or manuscripts, gather credible sources, and even browse an encyclopedia, all in one place.
Librarians are passionate about books. If you’re looking for a recommendation or to find fellow bibliophiles, the library is the right place.
If you have an inner librarian and you want to make sure your library stands the test of time, you can get active in your literary community. First…go to the library! Then try all these handy tips.
• Donate new or gently used books
• Better yet, donate to the library
• Volunteer your time
• Make use of their programming
• Pay attention to and vote on legislation
• Tell others how much you love your library!
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Jillian Bergsma Manning is a contributing editor for Independent Publisher. She loves reading and writing but not arithmetic. Follow her on Twitter at @LillianJaine or on her blog at www.editorsays.com.