County Library celebrates Black History Month

Picton Branch of the Prince Edward County Public Library. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

February is Black History Month, and in recognition, we wanted to share a few suggestions of books by Black authors with you.

These are just a few suggestions – there are many others. Throughout February, each of the library’s six branches will have Black History Month displays, so you can drop in to any branch and browse. If there are new titles by other Black authors not yet on the library’s shelves, please don’t hesitate to make requests at any branch of the library. The majority of books in the library are purchased as a result of a patron’s request, so don’t hesitate!

You can help us build the collection by dropping by 555 Brewing Co in Picton and making a donation to their fundraiser – thank you 555 Brewing Co!

Days by Moonlight by Andre Alexis is described as Gulliver’s Travels meets The Underground Railroad: a road trip through the countryside – and the psyche. Long-listed for the Giller prize and winner of the Rogers Writer’s Trust for Fiction, this title is profound, moving, and even funny. Changing the Face of Canadian Literature, edited by Dane Swan is an anthology highlighting the work by BIPOC Canadian authors. Swan says in his introduction “Congratulations Canada, you finally have a literature that looks like the people who inhabit you. Do not take this moment for granted.”

For children, Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott is a great fantasy series set in Brooklyn. Ellott’s title for older readers, Say Her Name, received rave reviews from the legendary author Jacqueline Woodson: “Say Her Name is a tribute to Black women, in verse. Zetta Elliott’s poems are parcels of joy and empowerment; the kind that could easily become personal mantras or sources of strength.” Nadia L. Hohn writes books for children and will join us virtually this month to read and chat with students. She’ll be discussing A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice. As the publisher explains, “Louise Bennett Coverley, better known as Miss Lou, was an iconic poet and entertainer known for popularizing the use of patois in music and poetry internationally—helping to pave the way for artists like Harry Belafonte and Bob Marley to use patois in their work.”

Teachers interested in participating with their class can reach Julie jlane@peclibrary.org to register. If films are more your interest, Kanopy is highlighting films for Black History Month. You can access these with your library card and PIN. This includes Fresh Dressed, a documentary about hip-hop and urban fashion featuring Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Nas, Pusha T, Swizz Beatz, and more. Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America is a PBS documentary Chronicling the history and personal experiences of African Americans on the road from the advent of the automobile through the seismic changes of the 1960s and beyond.

There are many more films to explore on Kanopy. If you need assistance getting started, give us a call (613) 476-5962. You can access Kanopy films on your smartphone, a smart TV if you have one, or computer, and we’re happy to assist you. These are just a few suggestions – we can help you find more. Ask at any branch of the library or browse at peclibrary.org.

-Liz Zylstra