Library Resources for Understanding

The American Library in Paris stands in solidarity against racism and for the pursuit of inquiry, knowledge, and conversation.

In the wake of recent protests in the United States following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May, readers have reached out to us for resources to learn more about these events, and the issues underlying them.

We have compiled reading lists from reputable outlets; many of these titles are in the American Library in Paris collection and may be requested via curbside lending.

A message of solidarity

Dear friend of the Library, 

As the world reels from and mourns the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and as we face devastating truths about countless other injustices, I have struggled to put into words my own sadness and shock. Because the American Library in Paris is as much a community and cultural anchor as it is a lending library, I have also been torn about how to respond effectively and respectfully in this charged moment. First, what could I possibly add to the eloquent reflections and expressions of solidarity that my librarian colleagues have put forth? But I realize that personal conviction and private heartache are simply not enough. Today nothing goes without saying. And saying it is merely a start. 

One of the founding missions of the Library was to act as a bridge of understanding between France and America. In the Library’s early years, our predecessors witnessed a time when Paris was a city that offered the promise of more freedom to Black Americans. Since the mid-century, the Library has been an important resource for French scholars studying questions about race in America. Now, in this time of collective grief about the ongoing, systemic violence enacted on people of color and the legacy of racism we find in both of our countries, we strongly recommit and broaden our efforts of understanding. 

This week Library staff, trustees, and volunteers have been processing events and determining how the Library may serve the community now. We strive for the Library to be a welcoming space where readers can learn, discuss, and confront challenging issues about identity, race, and culture. And beyond that, we strive to do the work, both individually and institutionally, to stand against racism. These recent events have reminded us that we have a responsibility to learn, to do the work, and to never be complacent. We will uphold and embody the ultimately humanitarian mission of libraries: to promote understanding of ourselves, each other, and the wider world.

Thank you for being a part of this community of inspiring, engaged readers.

Yours sincerely, 

Audrey Chapuis

Library Director

At Home with the Library

In honor of the Library’s 100th birthday this year, we’ve launched At Home with the Library, a video series where stars from the stage and the page read from the works of writers whose own histories are interwoven with that of the Library. You’ll enjoy the words of Richard Wright, Julia Child, and Colette, all frequent guests at the Library, being brought to life by such luminaries as Claire Messud, Alan Cumming, Hala Alyan, and Blythe Danner.

Every few days in May (our birthday month), a new reading will be launched on our Instagram account via IGTV and on our Youtube channel.  You can also watch the videos on the At Home with the Library webpage. Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest updates.

A special thanks to Denis O’Hare for his inspiration and leadership on the project.

The American Library in Paris has been lending since 1920. Help sustain this vital institution in its 100th year of service by donating today.

Subscribe to e-Libris, our bi-weekly e-newsletter

Upcoming Events

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2020 Summer Reading Quest (ages 0-12) (printable)

July 1 - August 29

Summer Reading at home challenge for ages 0-12   Keep track of your reading over the summer, try out new books, and win prizes by completing…

Ten Book Challenge (ages 12-18) (printable)

July 1 - August 29

Summer Reading Program at home challenge for ages 12-18   You don't need to be in Paris this summer to take part in our Ten Book…

[CANCELLED] Evenings with an Author: Alice Jardine [Virtual Public Event; RSVP Required]

July 7 @ 17 h 00 min - 18 h 00 min

This event has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule for a future date and will make an announcement on our homepage and through our eNewsletter, eLibris,…

Story Hour (ages 3-5) [VIRTUAL – RSVP REQUIRED]

July 8 @ 10 h 30 min - 11 h 30 min

For ages 3-5 3-5 year-olds and their grown-ups are invited to join us for our weekly Wednesday Story Hour! This interactive program lasts 45 minutes and…

Evenings with an Author: Alex Beam [Virtual Public Event; RSVP Required]

July 8 @ 17 h 00 min - 18 h 00 min

*Covid-19 Update: Although our physical space has temporarily closed, the Library will continue with its Evening with an Author programming during the period of confinement. Our events…

Writing Workshop with Anissa Bouziane [Virtual Event, Library members only, RSVP Required]

July 9 @ 17 h 00 min - 18 h 30 min

This workshop is FREE and open to Library members. Space is limited and registration is required. Please RSVP here. This event will run via Zoom from…

Capture the Flag (ages 12-18) [VIRTUAL RSVP—REQUIRED]

July 10 @ 17 h 30 min - 19 h 00 min

For ages 12-18     Join us for a game of capture the flag on the Champ de Mars (weather permitting). We’ll meet at the Library…

Sweet Summer Crafts (ages 6-12) [Virtual RSVP—REQUIRED]

July 11 @ 11 h 00 min - 12 h 00 min

Ages 6-12     Grab some colored pencils and join us for a craft session hosted by Children's and Teens' Services Librarian Kirsty, who will lead…

Story Hour (ages 3-5) [VIRTUAL – RSVP REQUIRED]

July 15 @ 10 h 30 min - 11 h 30 min

For ages 3-5 3-5 year-olds and their grown-ups are invited to join us for our weekly Wednesday Story Hour! This interactive program lasts 45 minutes and…

Ask the Doctor: COVID-19 update by Dr. Rob Murphy [Virtual Public Event; RSVP Required]

July 15 @ 17 h 00 min - 18 h 00 min

*Covid-19 Update: Although our physical space has temporarily closed, the Library will continue with its Evening with an Author programming during the period of confinement. Our events…

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