Library Celebrates African American Authors

The Norwalk Easter Public Library is committed to racial equality and providing a space where everyone is safe and welcome. We believe in inclusion and diversity and we hope our collection reflects that belief. We also try to remove as many barriers to service as possible by making our policies and procedures easier and simpler. The staff has been talking about ways to have programs and events in the future when we can do more in person instead of online to promote diversity and culture. We are happy to be partners with other groups representative of other races, cultures, etc., because they are the experts in that field while we are the experts in providing high quality, engaging, and educational programming.

Our Adult Services Librarian Kayla Becker recently did an “In the Stacks” FB Live which featured book and audiobook titles for all ages to celebrate the black culture as well as help us understand the issue from a historic and cultural perspective – see attached lists. There are so many great books, audiobooks, graphic novels, and DVDs out there for all ages and reading levels, so we can all learn. It is really opening minds! 

In addition, OverDrive, one of the library’s eBook and audiobook resources is providing certain titles for free and with no waitlist or holds through the Libby app. This app is free; if you need help downloading or accessing these materials, please contact the library at 515-981-0217 or

The audiobook “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander, will be available for downloading through July 15. Named one of the Most Influential Books of the Last 20 Years by the “Chronicle of Higher Education” and winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction, Alexander’s critically acclaimed book examines racial disparities through the lens of mass incarceration.

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas will be available for eBook or audiobook download through July 12. This bestselling young adult novel follows Starr, a Black teenager caught between the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these two worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.

EBook “Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor” by Layla F Saad is available for download through July 19. This “New York Times” bestseller published in January 2020 is based on the viral #meandwhitesupremacy Instagram challenge and provides a framework for readers to dismantle the privilege within themselves.

The audiobook “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijemoa Oluo is the next free, no waitlist/no holds title; watch the library’s Facebook page for the date it will be released on Libby. Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they exist in almost every aspect of American life.