The library showcases and highlights the importance of preserving culture, with décor steeped rich in ancestral work. Library Director John Kamara said the library aims to "share our culture with the wider community and publish educational content which resonates with people from BME backgrounds."
"Within the educational system, the subject of history is usually taught from the Anglo-Saxon perspective – the library can provide a balance as there is an incredible opportunity to see historical events through a new perspective."
"History is usually passed down through generations via word of mouth; however, it can be forgotten, lost, or discarded. And often, Black history, when taught, is themed around Black American history, i.e., Marcus Garvey, the Civil Rights Movement, and the American Black Power Movement. However, many people are unaware of the historical events which occurred on British soil or the independence of African nations, the slave rebellions in the Caribbean islands, and the great African civilisations. The library aims to promote these narratives, so both children and adults alike have a more rounded view of what Black history is, in particular, Black British history."
The library is both essential and unique in its nature, and in a recent report by Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), out of 9,115 books published in 2017, only 391 featured BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) characters with 1% BAME as main characters. These figures are shocking, and Kamara hopes that the library will incise learning from an Afrocentric perspective, promoting discussions around race, diversity, and structural inequalities. Kamara also hopes the library will inspire more children to become authors and create new narratives for all.
The Basil Griffith Library is open each Sunday from 3pm till 6pm, and is open to all.
To be involved in volunteering at the library, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more on the Beards and Books website.