Libraries as sites of conversation: skyping with Angie Thomas

Members of the UW Tacoma community — students, staff, and faculty — had the tremendous opportunity this past Wednesday to speak with renowned author Angie Thomas, author of the New York Times #1 bestselling novel The Hate U Give.

Part of the Real Lit[erature] Book Club, a joint program between the UW Tacoma Library and the UW Tacoma Center for Equity and Inclusion, this event marked the culmination of a quarter-long discussion on social justice, systemic police violence, and community.  Libraries are purveyors of information, at the nexus of ideas, scholarship, and information needs. We thus believe that libraries are the perfect site to host conversations such as the dialogue with Ms. Thomas.

skype call on projected screen with an audience
Image courtesy Johanna Jacobsen Kiciman

I can only speak for myself, but I found the conversation to be meaningful and funny, honest and thought-provoking.  Ms. Thomas is an amazing advocate for reading as a way to promote social change, inspiring readers to grow and understand through empathy.  The audience learned about the inspiration behind the novel, Ms. Thomas’ own community and background, the impact the novel had on diverse audiences, and more.  Framing her words was the context of humanizing marginalized communities as a way to stop violence. 

Striking was her advice to students: “The work you do in college matters.” To our UW Tacoma community, we reiterate that message!

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