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From the Director, February 2024

From the Director, February 2024

If you’ve been reading Books & Beyond over the past year, you’ve heard us talk a lot about diversity and inclusion.

In the past year, we have placed an emphasis on making sure that everyone knows that they belong at the library. We want to meet people where they are, no matter their stage in life, and show them that there’s a place for them here.

There’s a lot of turmoil in the world right now, and I want our libraries to be safe havens. Our buildings should be places where people know that they are welcome – no matter where you come from culturally, geographically, socioeconomically, personally, you are welcome at the library.

One way we make that clear is by placing an emphasis on cultural celebrations, because I believe that shining a light on the various perspectives, experiences and cultures that make up our community brings us together.

February is Black History Month, for example, and our libraries will host a variety of events that recognize Black scientists, inventors, artists, musicians and thought leaders. The biggest of these events is our annual African American Read-In, during which we invite local luminaries – politicians, media personalities, authors and others – to read or perform works by their favorite Black authors, poets and musicians. It’s an uplifting event that elevates the work of authors of color, who are woefully undersung and underrepresented in the literature we consume.

I know that being diverse and inclusive is more than about highlighting cultures for one month out of the year, but I also know that it’s a great way to signal to people in our community that not only are they seen, they are celebrated. They are welcome.

And you’re welcome, too. I hope you’ll come to visit us this month and participate in one of our Black History Month events. If you’re not sure where to begin, I suggest you start with African American Read-In.

We’ll meet you there.

Steve Powell, Library Director/CEO, Orange County Library System

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Juneteenth Closure

Orange County Library System will be closed Wednesday, June 19, in observance of Juneteenth. The library system will resume normal business hours on Thursday, June 20. View a complete list of holiday closures >