Racial Literacy

racial literacy plan

In light of the increased unrest due to the systemic racism prevalent in the United States and the focus on the Black Lives Matter movement, the Sun Prairie Public Library is committed to enhancing racial literacy. Racial literacy can be defined as those skills that “probe the existence of racism and examine the effects of race and institutionalized systems on their experiences and representation in US society.” (Sealey-Ruiz, 386)

The Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), calls on public library workers to commit to structural change and to taking action to end systemic racism and injustice. This Racial Literacy Plan is our commitment and action plan.


Racial literacy for our staff and patrons will involve creating learning opportunities that will enable our community to identify racism, bias, micro-aggressions, the history of systemic racism, and to develop strategies for countering it within our own professional practice and hopefully eradicating it. We will accomplish this by:

1. Providing professional and staff development opportunities

a. Dane County Library System, Ripple Project. Development of Regional Equity Teams.

b. City of Sun Prairie Equity Academy

c. Conferences

d. Webinars

e. Professional reading

f. On-site and/or remote staff training and discussion


2. Reviewing policies and procedures

a. Changing and/or abolishing practices that are identified by library research as systemically racist

b. Review and revise protocols for involving police in patron interactions


3. Intentional programs

a. Book clubs

b. Panel discussions

c. Cultural appreciation


4. Collection Development

a. Audit of materials and selection criteria

b. Displays

c. Readers advisory

d. Provide opportunities to create content


5. Representation

a. Staffing initiatives

b. Hiring local and national experts and to lead staff development and community discussions

c. Developing internship programs

d. Establishing focus and advisory groups

e. Providing opportunities for community members to share their knowledge, skills and talents with others

f. Library Board representation