As a result of the increased public focus and concern about racism in America, Falmouth Public Library Support Fund board of directors member Joseph A. Netto III asked the board if he could pursue the idea of purchasing books on racism for the town’s public libraries.
With the chairman of the board’s blessing he contacted Laura Ford, the Falmouth Public Library youth services librarian.
Ms. Ford gave him a list of eight books on racism for all ages that the library did not own but wanted to add to its collection.
“Let’s Talk About Race” by Julius Lester;
“We Came To America” by Faith Ringgold;
“Black Is a Rainbow Color” by Angela Joy;
“Can I Touch Your Hair?” by Irene Latham and Charles Waters;
“Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down” by Andrea Davis Pinkney;
“#blacklivesmatter: Protesting Racism” by Rachel L. Thomas;
“Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice” by Mahogany L. Browne; and
“A Good Kind of Trouble” by Lisa Moore Ramee.
“We thought about getting a set of the eight books for each of the public libraries: the main library, the East Falmouth Library and the North Falmouth Library,” board of directors chairman Robert G. Ripley Jr. said. “I started checking out pricing with Eight Cousins Bookstore on Main Street to keep the purchase local at a time when Main Street businesses are hurting.”
Mr. Ripley also emailed Superintendent of Schools Lori S. Duerr about the books and asked if she would like five (“Let’s Talk About Race,” “We Came To America,” “Black Is a Rainbow Color,” “Can I Touch Your Hair?” and “Sit-In”) for the libraries of the four Falmouth elementary schools.
Dr. Duerr checked with the principals, who agreed that the books would be a wonderful addition to the school libraries.
Mr. Ripley wrote a proposal for the purchase of the books, which he presented at the library support fund’s July 14 meeting, where the proposal was approved.
Mr. Ripley has also put together a programs committee to look at a way to develop and help fund programs to encourage children to read the books.
“Step one was to buy books identified as having substance. Step two is developing programs which could help kids read them,” he said. “I wanted to be proactive about this and not wait until the fall. It’s exciting; I’m really pleased with the [support fund] group. Economically, it helps Eight Cousins, and we will have the books hopefully this week.”
The library support fund was created to provide funding for projects, literacy and educational programs that improve the public libraries owned by the Town of Falmouth,” the fund’s website says.
The fund is managed by a volunteer board of directors, with officers and members elected annually. Members consist of library trustees and community members. Board meetings are held monthly.
Donations to the support fund are tax-deductible.