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About the Library

The Anti-racism Digital Library serves as a clearinghouse for anti-racism related resources. The goal of the library and thesaurus is human unity and support for building 'the beloved community.'

Collections such as A Mote in Minerva's Eye, Anti-racism in Archives and Libraries, Comfort Women, Presbyterian Women, Progressive Christians Uniting, The Intercultural Church, OC Cities for CEDAW, Reclaiming Ourselves, showcase people, regions, social communities and workplaces (libraries and archives). They are a microcosm of our larger world representing diverse geographical origins and culture, language groups and faith traditions — Atheists, Buddhists, Christians irrespective of denominations, and non-denominations, Hindus, Humanists, Muslims, Sikhs, and more - who want to improve their practices of inclusion and belonging and increase equity. Collections  such as the Anti-racist Identity, Racial ImaginationAmerican IdentityChristian Imagination, Intersectional Invisibility, Global Anti-racism and American Myths offer new language for fueling the human imagination with concepts and categories that describe the essential humanity. All collections emerge from the research and bring together information resources created by people, groups and projects that are building inclusive, healing, and caring communities.

The goal of the glossary and Thesaurus is to help increase awareness of global anti-racism (concepts, people, movements and more) and aid in the indexing and cataloging of information resources about anti-racism (improve intellectual access).


Anti-racism is defined as some form of focused and sustained action, by a mix of people which includes inter-cultural, multi-faith, multi-lingual, diverse, and inter-abled communities with the intent to change a system or an institutional policypractice, or procedure which has oppressive and dominating/subordinating effects.

Intersectionality and invisibility, that is, discrimination and oppression in the margins and intersections of society such as class (social, economic, education), gender, language, ancestry, culture, race, ethnicity, and the role of faith provided the initial impetus.

Global anti-racism, working locally but interacting and collaborating regionally, nationally and internationally is of special interest. The goal is to improve global equity by making explicit the facets and behaviors of core concepts in anti-racism such as belonging, diversity, justice, inclusion, and solidarity.


As an object of sociological research there has been little scholarly attention paid to the study of “anti-racism.” Themes related to “race,” “racism,” “discrimination” and “ethnicity” tend to make up the bulk of the literature. Bibliographic evidence, from library catalogs as well as knowledge structures, such as the schemes of organization and control that are used to describe information resources, confirmed this, in the fall of 2015. A subject search for “anti-racism” in the King Library catalog of San Jose State University and San Jose City retrieved 15 resources while a subject search for “racism,” on the other hand, retrieved 2,037 resources. A subject search for “anti-racism” in the Library of Congress catalog retrieved 108 resources and 5,349 resources about “racism.” Google had a similar rate of return: “anti-racism” had 12, 400,000 hits while “racism” had 70, 200,000 hits. This was the first study of anti-racism in library catalogs of which we're aware (Coleman, 2016).

The research investigated the treatment of the Library of Congress Subject Heading “anti-racism” in order to understand its strengths and limitations. The tenets of Critical Race Theory hold that race is a social construction, racism is endemic and institutional. Newer theories of categorization suggest that human categorization does not conform to the classical views of hierarchies and clear boundaries, and that language plays a powerful role in how we construct categories. How can we eliminate racism if we keep using the language of race and don't understand that of anti-racism?

The research also studied the origins and categorization of race. The racial imagination developed in Western Europe and in the United States of America. However, studies across disciplines show that "racism" (human prejudice against different others ) predates the creation of "race." Race is a created category for the justification of oppressing Africans. Global anti-racism has its origins in the Western movements against antisemitism and anti-slavery (abolition).

We are developing a new vocabulary, a thesaurus of the major concepts and relationships inherent to help increase understanding of global anti-racism. Scriptures from many faith traditions, positive peace, and alternatives to violence community projects along with the research studies and resources of anti-racism scholars provide the word stock. The goal is to help individuals, faith-based and community benefit organizations including libraries and information institutions adapt their anti-racist strategies to build inclusive communities and provide “anti-racist” intellectual access and “just library service.” There is an earlier proof of concept and the adaptation strategies are disseminated through diverse events such as adult education classes and workshops to faith-based, civic, and community groups, besides journal articles, and peer-reviewed conferences. [Full background story here] Two papers have been published.

Dedication: "Libraries are always inclusive, never exclusive." - Cynthia Hurd, a 31-year library employee who died in the Emanuel AME church shooting in June 2015. The Anti-racism Digital Library and International Anti-racism Thesaurus is dedicated to the 9 victims of Emmanuel AME Charleston 2015 shooting: Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Cynthia Hurd,  Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Myra Thompson, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance.

Funding from the Presbyterian Women of the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii (2015) and the Center for Applied Research on Human Services, San Jose State University (2016) is gratefully acknowledged. In 2020, the Library of Congress added the ADL to their permanent web archiving program. And, we began to develop collections for GLAM professionals on IDEAS - Inclusion, Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Social Justice. GLAM stands for Galleries of Art, Libraries, Archives, and Museums. People working in these information environments experience accelerating technology changes (which includes algorithmic and Artificial Intelligence biases among others).

Invitation to Join Us and Co-Create Cultures and Communities of Peace and Justice: 

  • Add a link to the library from your LibGuide or Syllabus;
  • Use the library to teach Information Literacy;
  • Catalog electronic resources using Anti-racism;
  • Suggest and Contribute resources;
  • Collaborate on one of the following: Collections, Glossary and Thesaurus
  • Test Usability and User Experience;
  • Schedule a talk, training, or workshop;
  • Contact us to become a Sponsor.

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