Mandel Public Library highlights diversity, inclusion during Black History Month

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 4:45 PM EST
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On the third floor of the Mandel Public Library in West Palm Beach, kids are learning that reading doesn’t have to be boring, and the knowledge that comes with it isn’t just black and white, but all the colors.

“I am very grateful and thankful for this library. It’s very inclusive and I’m very appreciative of it,” Synae Campbell said.

Ideas like inclusion are highlighted during Black History Month in downtown at the library.

Campbell said the Mandel library is a great place for her toddler too excited about heroes and historical figures that look like him.

“It’s super important and we’ve talked about it. He’s three and he likes when he gets to see little boys that look like him," she said. "He kind of puts himself into the books and I think it just gives him a greater sense of belonging."

In this case, learning about the richness of Black history is free according to Library Youth Services Supervisor Kathy Hage. The lessons that come with their programming though are priceless.

RELATED: Black History Month celebrations in Palm Beach County, Treasure Coast

“When a child sees themselves in a book, they’re more likely to say, hey you should read this," she said. "So, it’s our job as librarians to connect people to those books, but then also to watch them connect to one another.”

The Kidspace book club, open to grades 3 through 5, is celebrating Black History Month with Finding Langston by Lesa Cline Ransom. The book outlines the Second Great Migration of the 1940s through the eyes of an 11-year-old navigating the cultural differences between Alabama and Chicago.

Campbell hopes her son will eventually learn the same valuable lesson throughout history from books like this.

“I hope he learns that in everything he has a fair chance no matter what,” she said. “No matter what people show him, I want him to understand that he has a fair chance, and that he should treat everybody how he would like to be treated.”

Treating Black history with a sense of belonging in a diverse community.

The book club will meet on Feb. 27 to discuss Finding Langston from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For a list of other free Black History Month events, click here.

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