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White Fragility: Book Discussion Series

Robin DiAngelo's White Fragility - Spring 2019 Library Book Discussion, sponsored by ISU Library



Library Book Discussion Series, FY19

Welcome! This Guide was first developed as part of the multiple Fall, Spring and Summer 2018-19 Library discussion series on the book White Fragility, sponsored by the ISU Library's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. Two library staff groups completed the discussion series in Fall 2018, which involved the library's management team and librarians of color at ISU Library. The library's DEI Committee sponsored a third session in Spring 2019, and the AD for Inclusion & Equity sponsored a fourth session for additional library staff in June 2019. Through this series, about 54 library staff members participated, which is roughly half of all library staff.

This Guide is a work in progress!   Although our multiple discussion series on this book have concluded, the Guide should be useful to others for its content, structure, and syllabus of additional relevant readings. We may add materials to the Guide as well.

For questions or comments on this Guide, please contact Susan Vega García.

"Reading Is Only a Step on the Path to Anti-Racism."

A reading list "...  is not a panacea. This compilation of resources is JUST A STARTING POINT to encourage people to do their own work and have their own hard conversations."
- Nicole A. Cooke, Publishers Weekly, June 19, 2020

* * * * * 

We are honored that so many of you are using or adapting the ISU Library's Book Discussion Series model and materials for use at your own institutions and groups. Since June 2020 several of our Book Discussion guides have been receiving tens of thousands of views, and we are receiving numerous email requests and questions about our series. 

In some of our Book Discussion guides we include the questions that we wrote for our own participant groups, which have been primarily white library staff working at a predominantly white institution in the state of Iowa. You are welcome to use our questions but we ask you to consider writing your own questions to meet the needs of your specific participants and organizations. This helps you do the work of coming to grips with the messages of the books and how best to engage your own participants in that difficult work as well. That said, do feel free to use / adapt our model and materials and please do cite us, as this helps the organization see the value of our work. 

Our Book Discussion Series of course are not a panacea. We do not consider our work to be "done" after reading one or two books and nor should you. So much relies on discussions and doing the hard and continual work of unmasking and addressing racism, sexism, transphobia and homophobia, ableism, and other oppressions not only through discussions but through subsequent action. Our Book Discussions are just one part of our DEI programming and actions. Our Guides are not perfect, nor are the books that we read; they are both intended to be good foundations for engaging staff further in their own DEI learning. Thanks for understanding! We hope our guides are helpful to you!