Broaden your bookshelf during Black History Month

This story was published 2 October 2020

Sharing stories and local history are the focus of North Yorkshire Libraries’ Black History Month celebrations during October.

Black History Month books

The County Council’s library service is commemorating the contributions of Black people to British society, and promoting Black community history in North Yorkshire.

The month-long celebrations are yet another way in which staff and volunteers are keeping in touch with customers virtually during the pandemic. 

Around 3,000 people joined the library service over the lockdown period and there was a big increase in the number of e-books and e-audio books borrowed.

Customers can join the online reading group Book Chat on Facebook to discuss titles from its digital Read, Learn, Act – Black Lives Matter collection.

Throughout the month Harrogate library’s Facebook page will be full of archive material from the County Record Office that tell the stories of North Yorkshire’s people and places.

Staff and volunteers put a lot of effort into producing digital content when libraries were closed, resulting in a big increase in the number of people following their library on Facebook.

Books being discussed include Becoming by Michelle Obama, and Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. To borrow a copy of these books please visit the digital catalogue.

The library service is also showcasing a number of local history speakers who will talk about the hidden Black history of Yorkshire.

County Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for Libraries, said: "Black History Month is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate diversity in North Yorkshire and the UK. These events are just a small example of the wide range of activities happening across the country and I would urge as many people as possible to get involved.

“Most North Yorkshire libraries are now open for borrowing so it is an ideal time to pop into your local branch. There’s plenty of books by Black authors to choose from so come along and see what is on offer.”

The service has made changes to the layout of libraries and measures are in place to ensure that it is safe for people to return. Numbers allowed into buildings at any one time have been restricted to ensure that social distancing can be maintained and facemasks must be worn.

Customers are being asked to limit their visit to 20 minutes so that everyone has a chance to browse during what are still limited opening hours.

To find out more about the events during Black History Month please contact your local library, call 01609 533878 or email

Find more information on library and Record Office services during the pandemic.