Yolo County libraries celebrating Black History Month

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By John Fout
Special to the Express

Yolo County Library is excited to honor Black History Month with a variety of programs and resources for residents of all ages. The national theme for 2022 – Black Health and Wellness – aims to uplift the contributions of Black American medical and folk practitioners while addressing systemic health inequities and amplifying opportunities for the holistic betterment of Black wellness.

To pay homage to the connection between this month’s observations and the celebration of Emancipation on Juneteenth, the Library’s Black History Month banner was created in the form of a traditional story quilt. Each panel of the quilt incorporates iconography important to the historical narrative of captivity and freedom.

“When I reflect on my people’s history, I feel like I am handling something biblical. This part of American history is an Exodus story. The use and placement of every symbol could not be arbitrary. I questioned the digital medium I used to create it and I questioned whether it was right to share these symbols because they represent something either spiritual or secretive,” says Youth Services Librarian Katrina Laws-Ewald, who designed the story quilt banner.

In alignment with this year’s wellness theme, the Library has partnered with the Yolo County’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) Cultural Competence Committee to present The Cost of Darkness, the acclaimed documentary series by award-winning author and educator Sandy Holman. The film outlines the sociopolitical factors contributing to racial inequity and lays foundations for systemic change and will screen on Wednesday evenings in February, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Each screening will be followed by a discussion session with the filmmaker. Further information, including Zoom links to the free event, is available on the Yolo County Library website.

Holman’s work will also be featured in February’s Dial-A-Story, a Library service featuring 24/7 access to books read aloud for children aged three to eight. We All Have a Heritage celebrates the unique contributions of diverse cultures to a shared human experience. The book will be read in English by HHSA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator Tessa Smith and in Spanish by Outreach and Programming Library Ruby Buentello. To listen to the Dial-a-Story, call 530-298-9990 or visit yolocountylibrary.org/dial-a-story-telecuento/.

The Library will also highlight its collections of books, audiobooks, and films by Black creators this February.

“While there’s still much room for improvement, the publishing industry has begun to address its historic exclusion of Black writers,” says Collection Development Librarian Jillian Hinchliffe. “As a result, and as a result of continuing efforts to collect materials that uplift and celebrate Black voices, the Library has a wealth of resources to offer the community year-round.”

Black History Month reading lists for all age groups can be found in each Library branch, on the Library website and at yolocounty.overdrive.com.

Residents can also visit the Library’s social media channels every weekday in February to find spotlights on Black wellness resources, books written by Black authors, and notable Black residents of Yolo County past and present, including historical information from the Yolo County Archives and Yolo County Historical Collection.

For more information about the Library’s programs and resources, residents can visit their local library, or the Library’s website, https://yolocountylibrary.org, or connect with Yolo County Library on Facebook at www.facebook.com/yolocountylibrary.org and Instagram at @yolocountylibrary.

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