Library Equity Work


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Our Statement Opposing Violence Against Asians and Asian Americans

The Burlingame Library Equity Team would like to acknowledge the recent spate of attacks on Asian American elders in the country – many in the Bay Area – and offer resources for understanding and support to the community.  

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been an increase in hate crimes directed at the Asian American community – due in large part to rising xenophobia. According to the Stop AAPI Hate National Report, there were “3,795 incidents received by the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021,” with 1,691 of those incidents in California. NPR reports that the “more than two dozen recent assaults and robberies in the Bay Area mirror a national rise in hate crimes against older Asian Americans during the pandemic.”  

Violence can affect any community, but unity against such hate is vital. We stand in solidarity with our Asian American communities in the Bay Area and beyond. We also recognize that traditional means of enforcement are not necessarily the solution and, in some situations, can cause harm. 

Our city is named after the reformer and diplomat Anson Burlingame who negotiated the first American treaty with China, which recognized the equal status of both nations in 1868.  This treaty provided protections for Chinese citizens traveling and residing in the United States. As Mark Twain wrote in Burlingame’s obituary, “For he had outgrown the narrow citizenship of a state and become a citizen of the world; and this charity was large enough and his great heart warm enough to feel for all its races and to labor for them.” Let us support our own Asian American friends and neighbors with the same great heart. 

You can find the full statement with resources for support in our March 19, 2021 newsletter.

Our Black Lives Matter Statement 

To Our Community,  

As part of our work with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, the Burlingame Public Library Equity Team is committed to achieving racial equity. During this time of crisis, we reaffirm our vow to stand with the racial justice movement and work toward creating an equitable future through the use of media, advocacy, training, research, policy, and narrative.   

We stand together against racism and injustice. We believe Black lives matter. We grieve with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and others before them, and we reaffirm our mission to fight ignorance, strengthen our communities, and stand against all forms of dehumanization. As our great Poet Laureate Maya Angelou wrote, "Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet."  

You can find the full statement w/ resources in our June 5, 2020 Newsletter.

In May 2018, the Burlingame Public Library, along with other libraries of the Pacific Library Partnership, signed the Urban Libraries Council’s Statement of Racial and Social Equity. 

It reads:  

As leaders of North America’s public libraries, we are committed to achieving racial and social equity by contributing to a more just society in which all community members can realize their full potential. Our libraries can help achieve true and sustained equity through an intentional, systemic and transformative library-community partnership. Our library systems are working to achieve equity in the communities we serve by: 

  • Eliminating racial and social equity barriers in library programs, services, policies and practices
  • Creating and maintaining an environment of diversity, inclusion and respect both in our library systems and in all aspects of our community role
  • Ensuring that we are reaching and engaging disenfranchised people in the community and helping them express their voice
  • Serving as a convener and facilitator of conversations and partnerships to address community challenges
  • Being forthright on tough issues that are important to our communities 

Libraries are trusted, venerable and enduring institutions, central to their communities and an essential participant in the movement for racial and social equity.

In response to the statement, the Library’s Equity Team was formed later that year. Its directive: to look at collections, policy, programs, workforce, and procedures with a racial equity lens.  The team members consist of library employees spanning all levels of the organization.   

Libraries are for Everyone1

Participation in California Libraries CREI Grant Program 

The committee applied for and was accepted into the California CREI (Cultivating Race, Equity, and Inclusion) grant program for 2019-2020. With cohorts in Southern California and Northern California, five core members attended trainings run by Gordon Goodwin, Director of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), to assess and work on applying racial equity tools to our library and community, with a goal to create a racial equity plan for the library to implement.

Anti-Racism Resources for Adults 

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Burlingame Library Asian-American Xenophobia & History booklist: 

Burlingame Library Racial Equity & Social Justice booklist:  
Burlingame Library United Against Hate booklist:  
Simmons Anti-Oppression LibGuide contains a wealth of resources and information 


The Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley presents statistics related to race for various cities, counts, and states, beyond plain Census data 
Resources for Self-Learning: 
This is a list of resources to introduce you to some of the key concepts that guide the work of promoting equity, inclusion and social justice. 

Listen or Watch

Intersectionality Matters Podcast presented by African American Policy Forum and Kimberle Crenshaw 
The 1619 Project
Code Switch on NPR is a podcast hosted by journalists of color, the podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. Color 

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man: Emmanuel Acho sits down to have an “uncomfortable conversation” with white America, in order to educate and inform on racism, system racism, social injustice, rioting & the hurt African Americans are feeling today. 

Trainings and Toolkits

The AFT Immigrant and Refugee Children: Guide for Educators and School Support Staff discusses how to care for undocumented youth in your schools  

Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit 

The Equity Collective offers in-persons trainings in the Bay Area 
Online Bystander Intervention and De-Escalation Trainings with Hollaback 
Racial Equity Tools has a number of curricula and resources, including their documentary with World Trust 
Teaching Tolerance provides classroom resources, professional development, and more 


ACLU NorCal  

Anti-Defamation League 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice 
Council for American Islamic Relations 
Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) 
Movement for Black Lives  
Never Again Action 

Northern California Grantmakers 
Not In Our Town 
Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) 
San Mateo County Pride Center 

 Anti-Racism Resources for Kids and Teens  
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Burlingame Library Anti-Racist Books for Children & Teens:

Celebrating Diverse Voices BPL Picture Book Recommendations List:  
A Children’s and YA Anti-Racist Reading List 

Coretta Scott King Book Awards:  

Multi-Cultural BPL Chapter Book Recommendations List:  

Social Justice Books (As recommended on the Sesame Street Town Hall on Racism): 

10 Books to Nurture Budding Young Activists: 

We Need Diverse Books: 


How Racism Harms Children: 

Listen or Watch 

Helping Kids Process Violence, Trauma and Race in a World of Nonstop News (Presented by Common Sense Media) 
KidLit4BlackLivesRally (Sponsored by The Brown Bookshelf): 

Library of Congress National Book Festival Presents: Race in America  

Sesame Street Town Hall on Racism: 

Tutu Teacher: Let’s Talk About Race 

What is Black?: A podcast that focuses on issues important to raising healthy and thriving Black children and adolescents. The biweekly podcast is hosted by Dr. Jacqueline Douge a pediatrician and mom of color. 


Training and Toolkits

Talking To Your Kids About Racism: 


The Brown Bookshelf: 
Common Sense Media Resources about Race and Racism 

National Education Association EdJustice Resources