Anti-Racism and DEI Resources
Lake Oswego Public Library is committed to building a culture and space that is accessible and welcoming to all, and where all people, of all backgrounds, identities, and abilities, have equitable opportunities to thrive.
Lake Oswego Public Library takes an active role in advancing racial and social equity through the design and delivery of diverse collections, programs, and resources for all ages. The library recognizes that we have ongoing work to do to dismantle systemic barriers that are perpetuated by the status quo. We are using a variety of equity tools to assess and address gaps in our services in order to eliminate barriers, widen access, and honor diverse voices.
Lake Oswego Public Library stands with other public libraries in adopting and supporting the Statement on Race and Social Equity of the Urban Libraries Council, which includes:
- 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
We encourage the community to let us know how we can improve access and services, to make sure the library is truly a place for everyone.
To learn more, please review the resources below, or speak with a librarian for further recommendations.
NEW RESOURCE: World Languages Collection
Our World Languages Collection focuses on collecting books written in or translated into Chinese, Korean, and Spanish, but we offer resources in many other languages as well. With selections for both adult and youth readers, we look forward to expanding our offerings over time. We are also thrilled to be able to offer Mango language learning for our patrons.
RESOURCE: Please explore our curated lists for kids and teens and adults on Pinterest to discover books and streaming videos that amplify marginalized voices and teach anti-racist principles. We are adding new lists all the time.
Examples of our book lists include:
- Ability Diverse Fiction
- Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI)
- Black History
- Diverse Families
- Hispanic Heritage
- Immigrants & Refugees
- Indigenous Peoples
- Women's History
RESOURCE: kanopy offers a huge selection of films that will inspire greater understanding, thoughtful discussion and reflection.
Click here to stream films for Disability Pride Month on kanopy
RESOURCE: For our 2021 LO Reads program, we read Isabel Wilkerson's bestselling book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. You can find links to the recordings of many of our 2021 LO Reads events on this page.
RESOURCE: For our 2022 LO Reads program, we read C Pam Zhang's How Much of These Hills is Gold. You can find links to the recordings of many of our 2022 LO Reads events on this page.
ONGOING EVENT: Global Stories Project - First Saturday Readalouds and Global Stories Book Bundles
The Global Stories Project highlights diverse traditions, families, and experiences. Multicultural stories reflect our global similarities, while opening doors to new cultures. On the first Saturday of each month, come to the Children's Library to listen to stories told in different languages by Lake Oswego community members. Each month spotlights a different world language, a familiar song, and a simple take-home craft. Also, be sure to check out our Global Stories Book Bundles, available in the Children's Library during all open hours. Journey across the globe and explore aspects of life in many cultures with the multicultural Book Bundles. Learn how kids around the world play, learn, eat, dress, and fill their days. These sets of five stories reflect our global similarities, while opening doors to new cultures and experiences.
ONGOING EVENT: Building Bridges Book Group - Last Saturday of each month, 10am
We invite you to join our online Building Bridges Book Group. Through the reading and discussion of acclaimed works of fact and fiction, we seek greater appreciation of the rich diversity of life, to build understanding, empathy, and connection in our world.
ONGOING EVENT: A Bookish Affair Book Group - Second Sunday of each month, 11am
Exploring intersectionality can and should take place in all areas of life. Two of our librarians are discussing diversity and inclusion in the romance genre both in their discussion group, and in their podcast. We invite you to listen to more than 40 podcast episodes pondering many sensitive topics through the lens of literature. More book lists and information on the monthly discussion can be found on the Bookish Affair page.
ANNUAL EVENT: Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
In 2023, we commemorated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a special celebration at the Lake Oswego High School auditorium featuring D.J. Avelanche as M.C., a keynote address by Dr. Shirley Jackson, a greeting by Mayor Joe Buck, musical performances by Alonzo Chadwick, Sr., and artwork created by community members. The event concluded with a car rally through Lake Oswego. More details can be found on this page.
ANNUAL EVENT: Lunar New Year Festival
In 2023, we celebrated the Year of the Rabbit by joining members of our community in a variety of fun activities for the whole family. The festival included a spectacular lion dance by members of the White Lotus & Lion Dance; a special performance of songs, dance, and poetry by children from Heart Strings Mandarin; crafts, stories, and a dumpling folding demo for children; and a Chinese ink painting demo for all ages by local artist Yanan Dai for all ages. Learn more about this year's festival on this page.
ANNUAL EVENT: Juneteenth - June 19
In 2021, the City of Lake Oswego and Respond to Racism began collaborating annually to commemorate the end of slavery with a community celebration honoring the historic day on June 19 at Millennium Plaza Park. Watch interviews of black citizens reflecting on the 2021 event as captured by Bruce Poinsette.
The City of Lake Oswego aspires to be an organization where every person feels safe, welcomed, supported, and included. Over the past few years, the City has taken a number of actions to break down barriers that, historically, have made it harder for some people in our community to succeed. Read more about our goals and initiatives, along with statements from City leaders.
Anti-Racism: The policy or practice of opposing racism and promoting racial equity.
Diversity: Diversity can be defined as the sum of the ways that people are both alike and different. Visible diversity is generally those attributes or characteristics that are external. However, diversity goes beyond the external to internal characteristics that we choose to define as ‘invisible’ diversity. Invisible diversity includes those characteristics and attributes that are not readily seen. When we recognize, value, and embrace diversity, we are recognizing, valuing, and embracing the uniqueness of each individual. (Adapted from National Education Association)
Equity: Equity is not the same as formal equality. Formal equality implies sameness. Equity, on the other hand, assumes difference and takes difference into account to ensure a fair process and, ultimately, a fair (or equitable) outcome. Equity recognizes that some groups were (and are) disadvantaged in accessing educational and employment opportunities and are, therefore, underrepresented or marginalized in many organizations and institutions. The effects of that exclusion often linger systemically within organizational policies, practices, and procedures. Equity, therefore, means increasing diversity by ameliorating conditions of disadvantaged groups. (Adapted from National Association of Social Workers)
Inclusion: Inclusion means an environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully; are valued for their distinctive skills, experiences, and perspectives; have equal access to resources and opportunities; and can contribute fully to the organization’s success. (Adapted from Society for Human Resources Management, Hewlett Packard, and Ferris State University)
Definitions as adopted by the American Library Association