Virtual Book Club – Difficult Topics – Opioid Crisis

With everything going on in the world, it is easy to forget that Ohio is still in the middle of the opioid epidemic. Ohio is considered “ground zero” in the ongoing crisis, so for this week’s virtual book club, we thought we’d spotlight books to start the conversation, as well as local organizations that need your help and further information and reading from various authorities on the matter. 

Click on any of the book covers below to be taken to the library’s catalog, where you can place a hold on any of the books with your library card number and PIN. Links to our ebook service Overdrive have been included where available. 

Books to start the conversation:

Title: This is Ohio : the overdose crisis and the front lines of a new America
Author: Shuler, Jack
Note: This Is Ohio will be released on Sept. 8, 2020.

Local organizations: 

St. Vincent Charity Rosary Hall 

Salvation Army Harbor Light

Hitchcock Center for Women

Stella Maris 

Community Assessment and Treatment Services 

More information: 

Ohio State University Extension has an extensive page of resources on the opiate epidemic in Ohio. You can also find facts on statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse here. Lastly, Ohio Guidestone, an addiction treatment center, has an article with sobering facts on the opioid crisis in Ohio.

Stay tuned next Sunday for our next virtual book club post! 

Virtual Book Club – Native American Voices

For this week’s virtual book club, we’re looking at books written by indigenous peoples. What better time than now, especially with the controversy around changing the name of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. Though the First Nations peoples who lived in Ohio were largely forced out of the state by settlers, it is estimated that 0.3% of Ohio’s population is American Indian – around 350,000 people, or the total population of Toledo. Find more information here, from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Below we’ve got books to start the discussion, local organizations that need your support, and some more information about the Native American mascot debate. Click on any title to be taken to our catalog, where you can put a hold on the book to be picked up at the Library. Hoopla links are included in the captions where available, and as always, books from Hoopla are ready whenever you are with your library card number and PIN. 

Books to start the discussion 

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer
The Only Good Indians: a Novel by Stephen Graham Jones

Local organizations to support: 

Lake Erie Native American Council

Cleveland American Indian Movement

North American Indian Cultural Center

Committee of 500 Years of Dignity and Resistance

Lake Erie Professional Chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society

More information:  

For more information on the psychosocial effects of Native American mascots, see this scientific journal article from Race Ethnicity and Education, here. The American Psychological Association has also recommended the retirement of these mascots, which you can find here. Lastly, find here an opinion column on Native American mascots published last week on Cleveland.com.

Check back next week for another installment of our virtual book club on difficult topics!

Virtual Book Club – Difficult Topics – Incarceration

This week in social justice topics, we’re looking at mass incarceration, reentry, and recidivism. While people of all races are incarcerated, African Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites, so many of the books below deal specifically with the Black experience (for more information, see the NAACP’s Crimincal Justice Fact Sheet). To see our past virtual book club post on racism, click here. These two virtual book club posts go hand in hand.

Below we’ve got books to start the discussion, local organizations that need your aid, and further recommended reading. To check out any of the books below, have your library card number and PIN ready, and click on one of the book covers to be taken to Hoopla, one of our ebook services. From there, you can check out your book at any time, with no holds lists and no waiting! 

Books to start the discussion: 

Local organizations to support: 

North Star Neighborhood Reentry Resource Center

Aspire Greater Cleveland

Cleveland Eastside Ex-Offender Coalition

Cuyahoga County Office of Reentry

Oriana House

Further resources: 

The question of mass incarceration is a complicated one. For some quick facts and figures on reentry and recidivism, check out The Challenges of Prisoner Reentry: Facts and Figures from the Urban Institute, a fact sheet on Barriers to Successful Re-entry of Formerly Incarcerated People, and a former incarcerated person’s personal account of reentry from the ACLU.

Check back next Sunday for our next difficult topic in social justice! 

Virtual Book Club – Difficult Topics – Poverty and Homelessness

For July’s virtual book club, we’ve decided to continue our series on difficult topics – this week’s is homelessness and poverty. We’ve curated a book list to spark ideas and conversations, local organizations that need your help and support, and a list of questions and resources to help you examine your own privilege.

If you’d like to check out any of the books below, just click on the cover to be taken to Hoopla, one of our e-book platforms. All you need is your library card and PIN, and you can check any of them out at any time, no waiting!

Books to start the conversation:

Local organizations to support:

The City Mission

Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless

Family Promise of Greater Cleveland

Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program

A Place 4 Me

Focus Cleveland

Examples of Socioeconomic (Class) Privilege:

  1. I assume I will be able to meet my basic needs. I take having necessities for
    granted.
  2. I buy what I need and want without worry. I can afford luxury items easily.
  3. I do not fear being hungry or homeless.
  4. I am free of the burden of debt.
  5. I have the freedom to waste.
  6. I can manage to know only people of similar class background by exclusively
    frequenting places where such people gather — neighborhoods, schools, clubs,
    workplaces, etc.
  7. I evaluate others and recognize those of similar class background because I was
    taught to do that kind of evaluation.
  8. I can avoid spending time with people whom I am trained or have learned to
    mistrust and who may have learned to mistrust my kind.
  9. I can hide family secrets and family failures behind the doors of my home.
  10. I am in control of how I spend my time.

The list continues here, in the “Examples of Socioeconomic Status (“Class”) Privilege” document from the University of Michigan.

Find more information on the homeless and homelessness here, from the National Coalition for the Homeless.

Check back next Sunday for a new reading list on another topic that deserves our attention!

Virtual Book Club – Difficult Topics – Feminism

For our third week of the virtual book club on difficult topics, we want to focus on women and feminism. Why is that? Partly because of this statistic from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

“In 2018, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings that were 81 percent of the earnings of male fulltime wage and salary workers.”

– from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Highlights of Women’s Earnings 2018”

Even in 2020, women’s work isn’t valued as much as men’s – and the disparity is even worse for women of color. 

Below are books that we thought would shine a light on the experience of women in the United States. Every one is available right now from Hoopla – no holds, no waiting. All you need is your library card number and PIN. We’re also including local women-focused organizations here in Cleveland, as well as a ‘privilege checklist’ to get you thinking.  

Every Sunday in June, we’ll be sharing curated book lists on difficult topics, organizations in the area to support, and more resources to explore. 

Books to start the conversation: 

Local organizations to support: 

The City Mission

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center

League of Women Voters Ohio

Renee Jones Empowerment Center

Women’s Recovery Center

YWCA Greater Cleveland

Male Privilege Checklist: 

  1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favour. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed. [However, men who appear to come from poverty or the working class are much more likely to be turned away from a prestigious job than a middle class or wealthier-appearing man.] 
  1. I can be confident that my co-workers won’t think I got my job because of my sex – even though that might be true. [This is far more true for white men than for many men of color.] 
  1. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex. [But may well be due to my race or ethnicity, if I’m not white.] 
  1. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won’t be seen as a black mark against my entire sex’s capabilities. [“Black mark” is part of racist speech. Black Monday, black mark, black sheep of the family: all generate negative associations with blackness and Blackness. See Dreaming The Dark, by Starhawk, for more on this.] 
  1. The odds of my encountering sexual harassment on the job are so low as to be negligible. [This is much more likely to be the case for men perceived to be heterosexual.] 

The list continues here, in the Male Privilege Checklist from Arizona State University. 

Virtual Book Club – Difficult Topics – LGBTQ+

June is Pride Month, so for this week’s ‘Difficult Topics’ virtual book club, we’re talking about another marginalized group: the LGBTQ+ community. 

All of the books below can be checked out from our emedia service Hoopla with your card number and PIN – every item is available now, with no holds lists and no waiting! We’ve included titles to educate on a broad swath of the LGBTQ+ experience, from trans to nonbinary to gay and lesbian. You can also find links to local Northeast Ohio LGBTQ+ organizations to support, as well as a link to homework for those wanting to be a better ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

Books to start the discussion: 

Local organizations to support: 

LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland

Equality Ohio

GLSEN Northeast Ohio Chapter

PLEXUS LGBT & Allied Chamber of Commerce

PFLAG Cleveland

Straight Privilege Checklist: 

1. I am not identified or labeled — politically, socially, economically, or otherwise — by my sexual orientation.  

2. No one questions the “normality” of my sexuality or believes my sexuality was “caused” by psychological trauma, sin, or abuse.  

3. I do not have to fear that my family, friends, or co-workers will find out about my sexual orientation, and that their knowing will have negative consequences for me.  

4. I get paid leave from work and condolences from colleagues if my partner dies.  

5. My sexual orientation (if known to others) is not used to exclude me from any profession or organization (teaching, coaching, the military, Boy Scouts).  

6. In the event of my partner’s death, I can inherit automatically* under probate laws.  

7. I am not accused of being deviant, warped, perverted, or psychologically confused, or dysfunctional because of my sexual orientation.  

The list continues here, in the University of California Merced’s excellent Queer Ally Homework document, where you can find more ideas to consider for being a friend of the LGBTQ+ community.

Virtual Book Club – Difficult Topics – Race and Racism

In light of everything going on in the world right now, we’ve decided to pivot from choosing just one book to discuss for a whole month to sharing curated lists of books on difficult topics. Every Sunday, we’ll be linking books to help start kick-start discussion on challenging topics, as well as including links to local organizations that need your support.  We know that these conversations will be hard, and they will make people uncomfortable, but we believe that they are important to have.

To start, we’ll be looking at race and racism, especially racism that predominantly affects Black people in America. All of the items below can be  checked out right now from Hoopla with your library card and PIN – just click on the book cover!

Books to start the discussion:

Local organizations to support: 

Questions to consider: 

  • What is privilege? Who has it? Who doesn’t? Why do some people have privilege while others don’t?
  • Name some examples of White Privilege.
  • Where do these privileges come from? What can people with privilege do that people without privilege can’t?
  • What is the cost of White Privilege for persons of color? What is the cost of White Privilege for white people?
  • How are issues like education, healthcare, poverty, housing, and economic status relate to White Privilege?
  • How are societal challenges like drugs, crime, failing schools, high drop out rates, and food deserts related to White Privilege?
  • Why is it challenging for white people to think about (and do something about) White Privilege?
  • When did you first realize you were white?
  • How do you see White Privilege demonstrated in media daily?

Questions from Chicago Theological Seminary. Click that link to find their White Privilege Glasses Discussion Guide, which has many helpful links to further reading and discussion.

Latest Additions -special charitable giving edition

Well. Now that most of us are happily on the other side of Superstorm  Sandy, I can honestly say, “I had no idea.” Did you? I mean really. Living in Cleveland, who could have guessed that a hurricane would reach this far and do so much damage? But how lucky we were in comparison to the many living in cities and towns along the  East Coast. So I’m thinking today, I’m going to share links to the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States, or ASCPA if you’d like to make a donation in the relief effort. Each of these groups is providing a way to donate specifically to assisting in the wake of the storm -so you’ll want to make sure you choose that link- or you might just want to offer general support to one of these organizations. But it never hurts to be an informed giver! Check out Charity Navigator and/or GuideStar to research any or all of these non-profit groups so you can be assured your money is being used wisely.

In the meantime? Stop in and let us know how you’re doing… Okay? Okay!

— Stacey