Libraries do more than loan books. They also help build community and advance literacy.

“Information literacy is something of a crisis in our country, and … there’s maybe nowhere where we see this more clearly than around climate literacy,” says Nick Demske of the Racine Public Library in Wisconsin.

The Racine Public Library is one of 25 libraries with funding from the American Library Association to offer programming about climate change.

Demske says Racine has a diverse community, but that diversity is not well reflected in local climate action.

“So we wanted to put some events to particularly highlight that, interrogate that, and maybe see if we can shift that in the long run,” he says.

The library co-hosted a screening and discussion of the film “Fire and Flood.” It focuses on the resilience of queer communities and queer people of color during climate disasters.

The library also hosted events with the mayor’s office to engage people in climate action planning. One was held in Spanish to prioritize Latino input. The other highlighted the voices of the Black community.

“We need everyone at the table,” Demske says. “Not just in this community, but in every community around the globe.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.