Robust readers’ advisory service that values equity, diversity, and inclusion principles is essential to all library services. But moving from being a neutral, well-meaning library, where systemic racism is acknowledged, to an actively anti-racist organization involves work, some of which is uncomfortable at first.  

Your library has probably discussed why this journey is important, but you may not know how to make it happen. Perhaps you think your library doesn’t have the time or the budget to do this necessary but emotional work. Over the last two years, we have worked with libraries big and small, across the country, on this incredibly challenging issue. We know that institutional change can happen. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is the first step. As nationally recognized collection development and readers’ advisory experts, we crafted a program to lead you on this journey.  

However, systemic racism is a long-held bedrock underpinning all our national institutions, including our public libraries. Dismantling it required a partner. We looked for an organization to help us expand our reach in a way that preserved the integrity of our training. We also wanted to make it easier and more affordable for this training to reach a wider audience of library workers. And we needed a partner that would help us overcome one of the biggest obstacles. Often, it is impossible to bring our actively anti-racist training to library staff because we require libraries who hire us to abandon the false narrative of neutrality. This insistence on our part left many library staff members who want to engage in this meaningful and important work with no options. 

That’s why we are partnering with Learn with Novelist to make the course Actively Anti-Racist Service to Readers affordable and accessible to everyone. The team at Learn with NoveList not only understands the complexity of the issue, but they also appreciate the work we have already done. We can confidently say that this is the best way to access our training materials. While we love to come to individual libraries and still plan to visit many of you in the coming months and years, the final product on the Learn With NoveList platform is better (and more affordable) than anything we have ever offered.  

When you purchase this course, you get two intense lessons on actively anti-racist collection development and readers advisory. You can work through those lessons at your own pace, engage in interactive exercises, and discuss this topic with your fellow learners at libraries and organizations in other parts of the world. Then, you’ll attend a third live lesson where we’ll answer your questions and speak with you directly about anti-racist service to readers.  

Our goal for this program has always been to make actively anti-racist service to readers part of your regular, day-to-day collection development and readers’ advisory practices at all levels and for all ages of readers. It does not have to be overwhelming or expensive. And with this version of the class, we feel like our vision is finally going to become a reality. We hope to see you at one of our live sessions very soon.

Actively Anti-Racist Service to Readers

Learn the action steps needed to provide active anti-racist readers services and build enthusiasm for reading and discovering diverse books.

Robin Bradford is a Collection Development Librarian in Washington State. She is widely recognized for her work and was RWA’s Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year in 2016. She is currently reading Reckless by Lauren Dane. 

Becky Spratford [MLIS] is a Readers' Advisor in Illinois who runs the critically acclaimed readers' advisory training blog RA for All and is the author of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror, Third Edition [ALA Editions, 2021]. She is currently reading The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka.