The Boston Public Library said Tuesday it was purchasing thousands of copies of anti-racism books amid soaring demand for the titles amid the country’s racial reckoning.
Since protests took hold across the nation following the police killing of George Floyd, wait times on popular anti-racism titles reached more than 12 weeks, with queues for “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo and “How to be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi reaching more than 1,200 patrons, the library said.
The BPL said it had spent some $75,000 on “more than 2,000 new works and additional copies and licenses of in demand titles for all ages” in a bid to shorten the wait times and expand its anti-racism collection.
“At the entrances to the BPL’s Central Library and branches are etched the words 'Free to All,'” said BPL president David Leonard. “This institution is founded on principles of inclusion and ensuring equal access to information, education, and opportunity.
"Every single day, we must put these words into practice, working to ensure that access is indeed, free to all," he said. "This moment calls us to formally stand against racism; as well as sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and all other forms of systemic oppression.”
The library said it was also working to develop its collection “with an intentional focus on raising the voices of people of color through representation, inclusivity, and diversity.”
The library added it was reviewing its recruitment practices as part of its efforts to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.