Public Libraries in Cuyahoga County Raise Dialogue About Social Change

As communities grapple with the social implications of the shootings in Orlando, Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas in the past month, libraries across the United States are stepping up to offer resources and support. Issues of race, prejudice, inequity, and violence are challenging topics, but they must be addressed in open, safe and productive conversations if we wish to move forward as a nation. As President Obama stated in his July 12 speech in Dallas, “…if we cannot even talk about these things, if we cannot talk honestly and openly, not just in the comfort of our own circles, but with those who look different than us or bring a different perspective, then we will never break this dangerous cycle.”

Libraries throughout Cuyahoga County including, Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library, Cleveland Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, East Cleveland Public Library, Euclid Public Library, Lakewood Public Library, Rocky River Public Library, Shaker Heights Public Library, and Westlake Porter Public Library,  seek to support community dialogue around these critical issues and offer resources that can advance learning and understanding. The following reading list includes titles available at your local library that address civil rights, justice, and race:


  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (2014)
  • Native Son by Richard Wright (1940)
  • The Souls of Black Folks by WEB Dubois (1903)
  • The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier (2000)
  • Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr. (1963)
  • The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore (2010)
  • United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good by Cory Booker (2016)
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (1963)
  • Waking from the Dream: The Struggle for Civil Rights in the Shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David Chappell (2014)
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (2010)
  • Sister: An African American Life in Search of Justice by Sylvia Bell White (2013)
  • Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin (1961)
  • Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin by Philip Cushway and Michael Warr (2016)
  • The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952)
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (2016)
  • Americannah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)
  • Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson (2015)
  • Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (2014)
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)


  • How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon (2014)
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (2015)
  • Monster by Walter Dean Myers (1999)
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (2014)
  • Revolution by Deborah Wiles (2014)
  • The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon (2009)
  • We Troubled the Waters: Poems by Ntozake Shange, illus. by Rod Brown (2009)


  • A Is for Activist by Nagara, Innosanto (2012)
  • We March by Shane Evans (2012)
  • Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton (2009)
  • Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester (2005)
  • Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (2012)
  • The Blacker the Berry: Poems by Joyce Carol Thomas (2008)
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (2014)
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (2010)
  • A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson (2005)
  • Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine (2007)
  • Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine (2012)

In addition, please visit your local library’s website to learn about programs or community dialogue sessions focused on the #BlackLivesMatter movement, justice reform, police/community relations, and more. 

Ashley Gowens

I proudly serve the Euclid community as the Marketing & Communications Manager for the Euclid Public Library.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 1:19 PM, 08.11.2016