Burbank Reads is a program inspired by the idea that the shared act of reading can bring the community together. Everyone in the community is encouraged to read the same book and participate in discussion and learning surrounding the subject matter.
Our selection for 2020 was chosen to encourage Burbank to engage in conversation about racial equity and the Black experience in America. Activities and discussion will create a foundation of ideas to build on for the future.
Our Selected Books
The main selection for 2020 was The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which captures the perspective of 16-year-old Starr Carter as she struggles to preserve a balance between her two polarizing worlds: Garden Heights, a predominantly Black and underprivileged neighborhood, and Williamson, her mostly white, upper-class, suburban prep school. The book shines a light on the complexities of race in America and invites social commentary. It poses many important questions about police brutality, discrimination, prejudice, and fear. It also encourages readers to get involved in the change they want to see in the world. Timely and thought-provoking, The Hate U Give has received literary praise and won readers’ hearts worldwide. The book was awarded the Coretta Scott King and the Michael L. Printz Honor Awards in 2018.
To encourage participation at all age levels, our librarians selected books for teens and children to read and discuss. Families read Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson and I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal wais the book selection for teens.
Read More, Learn More
Despite the challenges of COVID, Burbank Reads was a success. We offered 12 programs over the course of the month, from themed story times to panel discussions for adults. Almost 350 people attended live, and more are watching the recordings on our YouTube channel. We received 75 evaluations from attendees, and among the results:
- The overall program rating was 4.8 stars out of 5
- 93% agreed or strongly agreed that as a result of attending, they felt more aware of racial equity and racial issues
- 88% agreed or strongly agreed that as a result of attending, they felt more confident discussing racial equity
Along with the book discussions, panels, author visit and children’s programs, of course, people read the books, listened to the audiobooks and watched the film. Copies of the books are still out and about in the community, spreading the learning further.
We also collected ideas about steps the Library, City or individuals or groups in Burbank could take to continue making progress on racial equity. Those will be compiled and reviewed to help determine our next steps as an organization.
Here are a few comments from attendees:
- Just thank you for this. In a very socially and politically rowdy time all around the world, your talk has made approaching this topic seem less scary.
- I want to thank everyone who made this discussion happen. I am a young African American woman studying art, film and animation at CSUN and I found this conversation to be very inspiring. I definitely want to be apart of more of these conversations, so hopefully there will be more in the future.
- As one of your African-American patrons, I'm so proud of you, Burbank Library, for forums discussing racial equality.
- Please continue to do things like this!
We are looking forward to Burbank Reads 2021!