Cleveland Public Library (CPL) is “The People’s University,” the center of learning for a diverse and inclusive community. CPL’s vision is to be the driving force behind a powerful culture of learning that will inspire Clevelanders from all walks of life to continually learn, share and seek out new knowledge in ways that are beneficial to themselves, their community and the world.Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library (OCFB), as an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is dedicated to promoting and celebrating books, reading, and literacy. The YWCA Greater Cleveland (YWCA) states as its mission a dedication to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The YWCA’s values are courage, accountability, integrity and social justice. Throughout its history, the YWCA has been at the forefront of many major movements in the United States as a pioneer in race relations.
These exceptional institutions have come together in partnership to present: It’s Time to Talk: Book Clubs, “Improving Cultural Competency through Community Reading Experiences.” Book clubs are one of many options offered by the YWCA’s “It’s Time to Talk” programs, and offers a unique experience for individuals and organizations willing to talk about the complex issues of race. It is an effort to increase awareness, knowledge and levels of cultural competency in the workplace and the community. Cultural competency has been defined as: the ability to interact with persons from cultures and/or belief systems other than one’s own. It is the ability to understand and appreciate the differences that make us unique.
WHY BOOK CLUBS?
It’s Time to Talk: Cleveland Book Clubs are a way to engage in thoughtful and intelligent dialogue, where people–co-workers, community members of different racial and ethical backgrounds–can sit down together to discuss selected books on race-related topics. The intent is to get people listening to one another, which will lead to greater understanding. This is a worthwhile effort, given that recent research by scientists involving emotional transportation, i.e., how sensitive people are to others’ feelings, have concluded that reading literary fiction can improve empathy. After all, the ability to put oneself in someone else’s shoes—the capacity to understand what others are thinking and feeling—can be a first step toward becoming stronger in race relations.
OCFB Book Set Titles on Race. OCFB and Cleveland Public Library have made 35 book sets (27 fiction, including graphic novels, and 8 non-fiction) available for borrowing. The literary fiction titles selected are award-winning books that deal with issues of race and cultural diversity. For a description of each title, search CPL’s online public access catalog; download or print a copy of the OCFB Book Set Titles on Race here.
Helpful Resource. The YWCA has developed conversation guidelines to help facilitate discussion around topics on race and racism. You can download or print a copy of “It’s Time to Talk” Book Club Conversation Guidelines here.
Description of Book Kits. Each Book Kit Contains:
1 hard copy of the YWCA’S “It’s Time to Talk:” Book Club Conversation Guidelines; 1 hard copy of the Reading Group Book Discussion Guide; 1 USB Drive loaded with the book discussion guide, articles, books and websites recommended for continuing the conversation; 10 copies of the book. All contained in a sturdy tote bag.
How to Borrow Book Sets. Interested in borrowing books for your discussion group? Please contact CPL’s Literature Department at email@example.com or 216.623.2881. CPL’s Main Library is located at 325 Superior Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44114; operating hours are: Monday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
YWCA Greater Cleveland is located at 4019 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44103. For more information about “It’s Time to Talk” programs and services, contact the YWCA.