Equity, Inclusion, Diversity

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the Russell Library, we are committed to fostering an equitable society in which all people have the opportunity to transform their lives for the better. Libraries are in a unique position to provide these opportunities by offering free access to high-quality, reliable information and technologies that connect people and promote full participation in our democracy.

However, we also need to recognize that even in democratic institutions like public libraries, people have not historically been treated equally. The staff and Board of Trustees of the Russell Library pledge to our beloved community that we will do the hard work that needs to be done, and we will call out injustice when we see it. We will admit when we are wrong and we will educate ourselves in order to do and be better. We are committed to equal opportunity in hiring as well as representation on our Board of Trustees, and in our collections of materials, our programs, and our publicity and services. We will continue to learn and grow through consistent and ongoing training in equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Hatred, fear and ignorance have no place in our community. At the Russell Library, we pledge to promote awareness, inclusion, and understanding of our shared humanity now, and always.

Ramona Burkey, Library Director
Eamonn Wisneski, President, Russell Library Board of Trustees

We would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is the territory of the Wangunk peoples who have stewarded this land throughout the generations. We thank them for their strength and resilience in protecting this land, and aspire to uphold our responsibilities according to their example.

Learning and gaining a better understanding of indigenous lifeways is an important step towards acknowledging the value and ecological significance of indigenous stewardship in Connecticut, and in Middletown.
We recognize that by being silent, we are just as complicit in the ongoing oppression of indigenous peoples, and those who were enslaved.

We make this acknowledgement as a first step in our responsibility to critically look at the colonial histories and their present day implications as we give respect to the keepers of the land, and to the land, and to the bodies of water.

Suggested Reading for Teens & Adults

If You Want to Learn about Anti-Racism, These 10 Books are a Start

If the nationwide uprising following the murder of George Floyd has left you eager to actively dismantle racism in your community and learn more about the practice of anti-racism, one of the best things you can do to educate yourself is crack open a book.

5 Books about Black Movements and Sytematic Racism in America

This is a guest post for Book Riot from Lawrence Ware. He is a teaching assistant professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University and co-director of the Center for Africana Studies.

17 Books on Race Every White Person Needs to Read

It’s becoming clear that unless we do something to stop it, the hate and violence will only get worse. A good first step to take? Educating yourself with these books on race all white people should read, because it is up to all of us to put an end to racism.

11 Books by Native American Authors to Add to Your Reading List

These books have all been published since Native American Heritage Month in November of 2022. These are new stories from both established authors and those who are making their debut.

Honoring Indigenous People: 20 Recommended Reads

The New York Public Library’s librarians and curators have selected 20 books that can serve as an introduction to a rich and diverse heritage of fiction, nonfiction, history, poetry, memoir, and more by and about Indigenous people in the United States.

10 Great Reads in Honor of Indigenous Peoples Day

From romance to horror to nonfiction, these books by indigenous authors will entertain and educate.

Borrow a Title

Russell Library has most of the books mentioned above in a wide variety of formats: hardcover, ebook, audiobook. Search our online catalog and place a hold. You can also send us an email or give us a call!

Kids and Racism

Social Justice: 15 Titles to Address Inequality, Equality, and Organizing for Young Readers

These titles explain complex issues such as racism, sexism, environmentalism, and immigration. While far from an exhaustive list, these texts will be a strong foundation for budding activists.

Beware the Bigoted Subtext of Children's Literature

 The stereotypical representations—or omission altogether—of people of color in modern children’s literature promote a Eurocentric worldview and value system that denotes nonwhiteness as inferior.

Social Justice Books

SocialJusticeBooks.org is a project of Teaching for Change, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide teachers and parents with the tools to create schools where students learn to read, write and change the world.


As US racial divisions and inequities grow sharper and more painful, the work of envisioning and creating systems of authentic racial inclusion and belonging in the United States remains work in progress. Reversing the trend must begin in our homes, schools, and communities with our children’s hearts and minds.

More Resources

Association on American Indian Affairs

Protecting sovereignty, Preserving culture, Educating youth, Building capacity

Implicit Bias Test

Project Implicit is a non-profit organization and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition – thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. The goal of the organization is to educate the public about hidden biases and to provide a “virtual laboratory” for collecting data on the Internet.

Reading While White

Working for racial diversity and inclusion in books for childen and teens.

Project Ready

This site hosts a series of free, online professional development modules for school and public youth services librarians, library administrators, and others interested in improving their knowledge about race and racism, racial equity, and culturally sustaining pedagogy. The primary focus of the Project READY curriculum is on improving relationships with, services to, and resources for youth of color and Native youth.

Black History Month

Resources for Black History studies.