Silver Spring Library Seeks to Promote Inclusivity During a Time of National Divide

Courtesy Montgomer County: Since even before the election of President Donald Trump, America has been mired in polarization. Silver Spring Library, is promoting tolerance by educating readers about human rights and politics.:

Silver Spring, Md. — Since the election of President Donald Trump, the social climate and political atmosphere has been one of polarization. With some seeing President Trump's policies as targeting minorities and immigrants, some in the society are wary of what might happen. 

However, the Silver Spring Library, is promoting tolerance by educating readers about human rights and politics.

Libraries have long been a community staple and a place of advancement in thought and education. With a collection of 90,000 books, magazines and e-books, the Silver Spring Library is no different, but it is seeking to go a step further with keeping residents abreast of what's going on around them. Branch manager, Uzoma Onyemaechi said it is important for the library to stay up to date.

“Our library’s displays are relevant to holidays or popular events. The books we promote in our displays relate to the news and current events around that time,” she said.

When it comes to the politics and the presidency, Onyemaechi said the library remains neutral.  

“The Montgomery County Public Libraries System (MCPL) doesn’t allow librarians to speak on specific elected officials.”  With that in mind, their displays are geared more toward community inclusivity.

MCPL Director, Parker Hamilton said diversity is essential in the work they do.

“We strive to provide a space that reflects our diverse community and to ensure all of our programming is all inclusive, regardless of outside oppression.”

One of these all-inclusive programs is a U.S. Citizenship class offered weekly at the library, which helps legal permanent residents throughout their naturalization process.

“We help with language and civics skills, naturalization interview questions as well as offering legal help. We work with immigration specialists for students,” program assistant, Izis Weills said.

Regardless of immigration executive orders, Weills doesn’t foresee a dramatic impact on the program’s participation. “I think it’s too early for us to say anything about the impact, but we will continue to help our students and anyone else who is seeking counsel with the citizenship process,” she said.

The newly-renovated library has over 76,000 members of all races, religions, and ages. One faithful member, 20-year-old Jonae Christian is proud of the library’s displays. “I think it’s important to see signs on the walls that promote community and diversity because when I walk out of these walls, that’s not always the language,” she said.