The demand for books and other materials that address racial injustice has caused significant wait times at libraries across the country. Two Indiana organizations have received funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help meet the demand across the state, and funds will be distributed across Indiana to provide books and materials that advance racial equity to circulating collections.
Indiana Humanities received a grant of $135,100 and will use the funds from Lilly Endowment to distribute grants of $1,000 to at least 100 organizations, as well as add books to the Novel Conversations lending library and provide additional programmatic and facilitation support. The Indianapolis Public Library (IndyPL) received a grant of $140,000 and will use it to purchase an additional 4,000 copies of highly sought-after titles about racial equity for children, teens and adults to reduce current hold times. IndyPL will purchase these titles in many formats (book, e-books, audiobooks, etc.) and place them throughout the library system to support patrons’ lifelong learning.
Schools, community organizations and libraries outside the IndyPL system can apply to Indiana Humanities for up to $1,000 to add digital or physical resources that address systemic racism, inequitable policing and/or protest through a humanities lens. Materials must be selected from among the more than 100 titles curated by librarians from IndyPL’s Collection Management Team. The list includes fiction and nonfiction titles for children, teens and adults in multiple formats.
Public libraries, including those within prisons, community centers and schools, are encouraged to apply. Other Indiana tax-exempt organizations, such as senior citizen centers or community centers, may apply but must be able to demonstrate in their application how materials will circulate for free in local communities. These funds may not be used to purchase books or other materials for one-time giveaways but instead should be for multiple users over time.
“Our goal is to help Hoosiers think, read and talk about racial injustice and systemic racism and to support libraries as key public humanities organizations in this work,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We are grateful to Lilly Endowment for the opportunity to provide these much-needed resources to libraries, schools and community organizations.”
To develop the list, IndyPL’s Collection Management Team consulted Central Indiana Community Foundation’s “Tools for Accountability” and resource lists provided by Booklist (a publication of the American Library Association). The list was also reviewed by IndyPL’s Diversity & Inclusion and Center for Black Literature & Culture staff, Indiana Humanities staff and humanities scholars. Titles include books such as “How to Be an Antiracist,” by Ibram X. Kendi, “The Hate U Give,” by Angie Thomas, “Invisible Man,” by Ralph Ellison and films such as “12 Years a Slave,” “Harriet” and more.
Organizations must apply by July 31 to be considered for this special one-time grant opportunity. Grantees will be notified by Aug. 10, and funds must be used by Oct. 31, 2020. For more information about the Advancing Racial Equity Collection Development Grants and to view the list of materials, visit www.indianahumanities.org/racialequity.