Black Stories Matter: Talking about race

Tuesday, 15 September, 2020 - 16:00

In this session, US librarian Jessica Bratt and actor and writer Obioma Ugoala talk about how they have been educating and encouraging people to talk about race and discuss with them the role public libraries can have in doing this.

You can watch the event here.

Libraries Connected made a commitment in our Black Lives Matter statement to work to address the challenges in the sector on this issue. We promised to support libraries work to understand our history of race and empire and to promote diverse content.

To begin work on these important issues, we are holding a series of three webinars during August and September open to all public library staff and key partners, focusing on how to promote knowledge and education about Britain’s racial history and how to explore our past through local collections and more.

The webinars aim to provoke debate, discussion and extend our thinking. We want them to be a safe space for discussion and questioning and to lay the groundwork for future work.

This event was chaired by Ayub Khan MBE, Head of Libraries and Face to Face front-line services for Warwickshire County Council and Libraries Connected Trustee.


  • Jessica Anne Bratt always brings a high level of passion and enthusiasm to her job as Youth Services Manager at the Grand Rapids Public Library. While she could tell you all the ways she is involved in libraryland - she instead will tell you that the coolest millennial accomplishment was when MTV reached out for an interview and wrote an article entitled, “In Trump’s America, Activist Librarians who won’t be shushed.” When not presenting nationwide and who knows about the future of in-person public speaking - she is trying to balance her gaming life with motherhood.
  • Obioma Ugoala actor and writer is best known for appearing in the original West End cast of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton as ‘George Washington’ and he will next be seen on stage as 'Kristoff' in Frozen. He recently gave an inspiring talk on Facebook about How to become a true ally of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and his book "The Problem With My Normal Penis”, a candidly personal, ground-breaking examination of race and masculinity in contemporary society is due to be published in hardback in early 2022.