Equity & Anti-Racism

(Above) Sankofa Arts Festival 2022 in Scoville Park. Photo by Buzz McBride.

Oak Park’s public library is a library for everyone.

It is so because we continue to turn outward. We ask people to share with us their hopes for their community and their emerging concerns.

There are many examples of how acting on answers to the question “what kind of community do you want to live in”—has impacted Oak Park’s library work. Hiring a social worker to replace contracted security with a community engagement model, and eliminating fines for late materials are a few. Another big example is the library’s current equity and anti-racism journey »

In addition to the resources on this page, our Director of Equity & Anti-Racism Stephen Jackson is happy to speak with you about the work. Reach him at stephenj@oppl.org.


Materials curated by staff

Stories and events

Land acknowledgement

We acknowledge that Oak Park is situated on the ancestral land of the Bodewamiadkiwen (Potawatomi), Myaamia (Miami), Oceti Sakowin, Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), and Peoria. We honor them and thank them for their stewardship of this land. Source: native-land.ca

Community and staff input: Anti-Racism Advisory Team

We work with a cross-section of stakeholders (administrators, staff, patrons, board representation, and young adults) who work together to develop new protocols that shape the library’s strategic direction, plans, and policies. These individuals meet regularly as members of the library’s Anti-Racism Advisory Team.

  • Aaron Alonzo, Manager of Public Safety, Oak Park Public Library
  • Chibuike Enyia, Village of Oak Park Trustee
  • Christina Waters, Village of Oak Park
  • Juanta Griffin, Multicultural Learning Coordinator, Oak Park Public Library
  • Stephen Jackson, Director of Equity and Anti-Racism, Oak Park Public Library
  • Orson Morrison, Oak Park Community Member
  • Tatiana Swancy, Restorative Practices Coordinator, Oak Park Public Library
  • Virginia Bloom, Oak Park Public Library Trustee
  • Wendy Senger, Dominican University

Staff support: Black staff affinity group

The group began meeting monthly in June 2020. Its intention is to provide a safe space where members can ultimately feel comfortable convening themselves and setting their own objectives, and members include staff from the library and other Oak Park government agencies.

Collaboration: In the industry, across the community

As a member of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, a group whose mission is to connect all who seek to document, share, understand, and preserve Black experiences, we affirm that Black lives, Black stories, and Black collections matter. Of note: “Protest in the Archives” and “Collections on Black Experiences.”

As a member of the American Library Association (ALA), we refer to resources compiled for both ALA members and the public about Black Lives Matter and related issues, sharing them for informational purposes.

Community allies include:

Priorities: Anti-racism strategic plan

This video highlights key aspects of the library’s anti-racism strategic plan. Read the full plan here »

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