As a retired person on a fixed income, I try to find ways to save money. One way is to use our local library to obtain books instead of purchasing a book for a one time reading only.
As a black person, the topics I seek are often covered by minority authors. Or the topics in a book might run contrary to the belief that European Americans can do no wrong.
In the past two years I have sought several books from the Hamilton East Public Library. I have often been shocked to find out that some classic books by black author, or controversial books involving treatment of black people in this country, are not part of the library’s holdings. To their credit the library does try to obtain the books using the interlibrary loan system. In some cases the library has even purchased books by black authors that I suggested.
One of the books I sought from Hamilton East is titled, “Before the Mayflower” by Lerone Bennett. It is a classic book on the history of black people in the United States from our roots to enslavement. The library obtained it through the interlibrary loan system and did not decide to purchase it for its holdings.
Fishers prides itself on being one of the top upcoming municipalities in the United States. This does not seem to follow in the area of diversity and availability of diverse library holdings. I also found that books on the treatment of Native Americans seem to be un welcomed as part of the library’s holdings.
The library has sent me a link to the policy on what books and materials the library will seek. I understand that approximately 90% of Fishers’ citizens are European Americans. But does that mean that only topics and viewpoints of European Americans will be sought for the holdings of the library? To paraphrase a current theme, the Fishers library does not make it seem as if “all lives matter”. Or the phrase, “God Bless the United States of America….and no one else.”. The content of the library’s holdings makes it seem as if topics involving non white races/cultures are not aggressively sought. Viewpoints that paint European Americans in a negative view seem to be kept out of the library.
Fishers has initiated a race relations initiative. That is a positive move. Just understand that if supporting institutions such as libraries, schools etc. do not promote diversity your actions will not succeed. If the viewpoints of minorities are not sought via something as basic as library books in the holdings of the public library, progress is not being made.
Books that outline what really happened to Native Americans, and books that document the massacre of black people during and after Reconstruction must be shared. It is only through revelation of the facts that healing from past racist policies can occur.
Mr. Arnell Hill