An image of Black History Month book display at City Library last year

Black History Month

October is Black History Month in the United Kingdom, when we pay special attention to the often untold history, experiences, and contributions of black people to this country and to the wider world. The Black Lives Matter events have brought to the forefront the issues of systemic racism and social inequalities. Whatever our skin colour, it is important to understand the background of these events, and to listen to the experiences of people who have suffered and continue to experience discrimination in many areas of their lives for no other reason than the colour of their skin.

Due to current circumstances we can’t have a book and information display in the physical space of the Library, but there is genuinely a wealth of resources and opportunities out there to learn, listen, and be together.

First of all, you might already know that we have a lot of e-books in our collection. Look them up on CityLibrary Search and apply “Full text online” filter on the left hand side. Here’s a small selection of e-books related to Black History Month:

Secondly, have you heard of our “Liberating City” initiative? It’s a user-led book purchase scheme where you can recommend a title to help us improve the diversity of our collections. You can see the books we’ve already purchased through this initiative, or recommend a new title by filling a form.

If reading doesn’t appeal to you at the moment, have a look at our Black History Month playlist on Box of Broadcasts (BoB). CityLibrary staff have been busy selecting an exciting range of feature films and documentaries, as well as some interesting news coverage. Pro tip: some of the recordings may include some bits from a previous programme at the beginning, but fret not, the content is there! You will need to be in the UK to be able to access BoB, and to log in just select City as your institution and use your City username and password when prompted.

Learning is not only about reading and watching films, but also about taking part in a discussion, so it’s worth having a look at Black History Month’s events, too. City is hosting a talk by Professor Olivette Otele, the UK’s first female Black History professor, entitled “Absent Black Bodies in British Memoryscape”. It will take place online on 21 October at 12pm, attendance is free, but please register in advance to receive the link to join. Elsewhere, there are plenty of Black History Month-themed events both online and across the UK.

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