This spring, join us for anti-racism community discussions using the model of circles, a restorative practice which honors our stories, community relationships, and ability to keep learning from each other.
Register for upcoming anti-racism circles
- Wednesday, March 31, 6 pm: Community Circle – Identifying the Real Story of Rosa Parks. Register in Zoom »
- Thursday, April 15, 6 pm: Community Circle – Exploring The 1619 Project’s “The Birth of American Music.” Register in Zoom »
What are circles?
Circles are a structured process to build community where everyone feels connected and respected in their authentic selves. Led by library staff who are certified facilitators, we come together to explore a subject by asking a series of questions and providing all with an equal opportunity to share, listen to one another, and reflect on the importance to their own lives. Circles as we practice them are rooted in the traditional practices of Indigenous cultures in North America.
In this video, library circle keepers talk about how we use the practice of circles at the library, including in anti-racism work.
‘Anti-racism circles honor our stories’
Our Restorative Practices Coordinator Tatiana Swancy recently wrote an opinion piece for the Wednesday Journal, describing how we merge circle practice with anti-racism work:
“At the Oak Park Public Library, we are committed to developing thoughtful and worthwhile programming that’s motivated by a holistic view of anti-racism. We recognize that anti-racism is not only about dismantling oppression — it’s also about celebrating our cultures, taking care of ourselves, and centering the stories of people who have not been typically centered. Anti-racism is for all of us, and it includes celebrating Black joy and culture.”
Learn more about restorative practices at the library
Restorative practices, including peace circles, have increasingly been used at the library over the past five years.
We currently have 23 trained peace circle keepers on staff, including our Restorative Practices Coordinator Tatiana Swancy who says, “It’s a testament to how effective peace circles have been in the library space and how committed we are to growing the practice.”