Racine Public Library: Wins grant to support climate change programs

City of Racine – The Racine Public Library has been selected as one of 25 U.S. libraries to participate in Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) that will help libraries engage their communities in programs and conversations on the climate crisis.  

“We are proud to be selected from a pool of more than 70 applicants to bring Resilient Communities to the Racine Public Library,” said City of Racine Mayor, Cory Mason. “This is a dynamic time for the Racine Public Library – we will be welcoming a new Executive Director, Angela Zimmermann, in a few weeks, and in a time when climate change is beginning to affect our everyday lives, we are eager to bring these fact-based, educational programs and dialogues to our community.” 

Resilient Communities programming will begin at the Racine Public Library with a virtual group discussion led by the LGBT Center of SE Wisconsin on the Documentary “Fire & Flood: Queer Resilience in an Era of Climate Change” on Thursday, December 10th at 6pm. Registration information can be found on the Library’s website and Facebook page. Programming will continue in early 2021 with community conversations on climate change held in both English and Spanish. For more information and a calendar of upcoming library programs, visit www.racinelibrary.info/calendar

“The Racine community has quite a social infrastructure of groups working on sustainability issues, but the populations that are most adversely affected by climate change are largely pushed out of this infrastructure,” said Racine Public Library Community Resources Librarian, Nick Demske, who co-authored the grant. “This grant is meant to act as a piece of the puzzle to help better connect our BIPOC-identifying people, queer and trans people, people on the disability spectrum and others who are sorely underrepresented in the community’s climate and environment work. Climate change is a crisis that affects everyone, and the only way we’ll overcome it is if everyone is included in engineering the solutions.” 

The Racine Public Library will also have a collection of climate change-related DVDs for checkout and will be designated as a Climate Resilient Hub by the organization Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW). This will position the library to provide ongoing education about building resilience to climate change and community resilience during extreme weather events. 

“Designating the City’s first ‘Climate Resilient Hub’ is an important step towards building a community understanding of the ways in which climate change will continue to affect our City,” said Sustainability and Conservation Coordinator Cara Pratt, who co-authored the grant. “I look forward to continued partnership with institutions to designate a network of ‘Resilience Hubs’ throughout our community.” 

Resilient Communities strives to raise awareness and provide accurate information about the climate change crisis to the public through libraries. The pilot project has been funded by a generous grant from Andrew and Carol Phelps, the parents of a public librarian and a library master’s student. 

About the City of Racine  

With a population of 78,000, RacineWisconsin is the fifth largest municipality in the state of Wisconsin.  It is home to manufacturing businesses that enjoy world-wide reputations, SC Johnson, CNH Industrial, Twin Disc, Modine, and In-Sink-Erator among them.  Racine is also home to diverse cultures, a thriving downtown, and world-class beaches along the shores of Lake Michigan.    

Racine Public Library Mission:   

To lift up the lives of the people of the Racine community by embracing community diversity, prompting inclusion, creating opportunity, and by supporting the development of community literacy through a love of literature, learning and civic engagement. 

About the American Library Association 

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org