Our Anti-Racism Journey

We’re hiring for a Director of Anti-Racism & Equity. Read the job posting »

Racism is real. We need to work together to be anti-racist. Join us.

We are aware of how choosing to be anti-racist touches everything we do, as well as how our patrons, staff, and partners want to learn more about how to intentionally mitigate the impact of racism in our library, and in our community. Read more about why we believe anti-racism work is library work »

As we continue to turn outward, we know we have work to do. This page includes information and resources we are using to get started, as well as links to journey milestones. For questions or more information, please contact the library’s executive director, David J. Seleb, at 708.697.6911 or at davids@dev.oppl.org.

Anti-Racism Advisory Team

One of our first priorities was to convene a cross-section of stakeholders (administrators, staff, patrons, board representation, and young adults) who would work together to develop new protocols that shape the library’s strategic direction. Working with RGW Consulting to develop this team, the library publicly shared in June 2020 the names of the proposed candidates and received community feedback.

Today, these individuals meet regularly as members of the library’s Anti-Racism Advisory Team. We are both invigorated by and hopeful about each member’s willingness to continue to participate in this challenging yet fortifying road.

  • Aaron Alonzo, Manager of Public Safety, Oak Park Public Library
  • Virginia Bloom, Oak Park Public Library Trustee
  • Chibuike Enyia, Village of Oak Park Trustee
  • Reesheda Graham Washington, CEO, RGW Consulting, LLC
  • Juanta Griffin, Multicultural Learning Coordinator, Oak Park Public Library
  • Stephen Jackson, Manager of Teen Services, Oak Park Public Library
  • Orson Morrison, Oak Park Community Member
  • David J. Seleb, Executive Director, Oak Park Public Library
  • Tatiana Swancy, Restorative Practices Coordinator, Oak Park Public Library
  • Sarah Yale, Manager of Community Engagement, Oak Park Public Library

Black Lives Matter

  • As your public library, we are committed as an organization and as individuals to dismantle the systems of oppression that have created, and that fuel, racist conditions. Read more »
  • As a member of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, a consortium 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. See “Protest in the Archives” and “Collections on Black Experiences.”
  • As members of the American Library Association, we accept and acknowledge the organization’s role in upholding unjust systems of racism and discrimination against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color within the association and the profession. Read more »

Black staff affinity group

Another early recommendation—and priority—was to establish a Black staff affinity group, which began in June 2020. This group now gathers monthly, providing a safe space where members can ultimately feel comfortable convening themselves and setting their own objectives.

Community allies

The journey continues

To summarize 2020’s work in his own words, the library’s Director of Social Services and Safety Robert Simmons authored a blog post for the Urban Library Council, which was adapted and posted locally. Read Rob’s blog post now»

Looking ahead throughout 2021, the library continues staff training, a comprehensive policy review, and to building new relationships that can strengthen impact.

Stay current on news and new arrivals.