Hartford Public Library is launching two book clubs wrestling with the topics of anti-racism and social justice.

The first, called The Awakening Book Club, will start on August 13 at 6 pm. The club is targeted for young adults ages 13 to 25. Click here to sign up: bit.ly/TheAwakeningBookClub

“Connecting around a good book is one of the most meaningful ways to learn more about ourselves, each other and the world we live in. We want to inspire, engage and empower our young people to be thought leaders and decision makers. The future of our society is in their hands – and sharing ideas from great works of literature and non-fiction paves the way for them to form their own ideas about the world and form relationships with others that will last a lifetime,” said Bridget Quinn-Carey, HPL’s president and CEO.

The club hopes to create a safe and open space for young adults to connect around a good book. The biweekly discussion series will center on a book of the month that prompts much needed conversation about past and present racial injustices. Not an avid reader? Come and hear what others have to say about this important dialogue.

Liz Castle, programming manager for the library, said that the book club was a result of a meeting with young local organizers in early June. “We basically asked them how we can support them as a library. They told us the most useful thing we could do is to help them connect with other young people, reading books, discussing books and how literature can help inform how they move forward with their social justice work,” Castle said.

Club meeting dates and the books are below:

How to be an Antiracist

August: How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Session 1:  August 13
Session 2: August 27


White Fragility

September: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Session 1: September 10th
Session 2: September 24th
So You Want To Talk About Race

October: So you Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Olou
Session 1: October 15th
Session 2: October 29th


The New Jim Crow

November: The New Jim Crow : Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Session 1: November 12th
Session 2: November 27th


The Mis-Education of the Negro
December: The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Woodson
Session 1: December 10th
Session 2: December 13th


Noname Book Club

Hartford Public Library has also been named a chapter of Noname’s Book Club, an online/irl community dedicated to uplifting the voices of people of color. They do this by highlighting two books each month written by authors of color. From cult classics to the words of emergent authors, Noname’s Book Club highlights books that speak on human conditions in critical and original ways. In addition to social media presence have free virtual meet ups to discuss the monthly picks in a safe and supportive environment. The book club was founded by the rapper Noname in 2019 and has partnerships with libraries in Oakland, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.

Click here for more information on Noname’s Book Club.

Noname’s August Picks:

Playing in the Dark

Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, by Toni Morrison

The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett

For a list of all of Noname’s book picks, click here.

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One Response to HPL launches two racial and social justice-themed book clubs in August

  • Lucy Fuentes says:

    Great idea and book choices. Hope you get a lot of participants, Wonder if an adult/older adult book club on the topic would be well received.


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