Libraries Focusing on Black History Month Education; Book Displays and a Program on Harriet Tubman Spark Interest

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Byline: SHAKAYA ANDRES

This month at the Ponte Vedra Beach branch library, visitors got to meet Harriet Tubman, operator of the Civil War-era Underground Railroad.

That was the highlight of the Beaches-area public libraries' offerings to inform and remind people about Black History Month, celebrated in February.

Black History Month is a chance for libraries to showcase reenactments of history and encourage patrons to read.

The Ponte Vedra Beach and the Beaches branch libraries' staffs have been recognizing the month as they do other holiday months like Women's History Month in March. They've been displaying biographies and a variety of books about black American heroes like Harriet Tubman and W.E.B DuBois this month.

"If nothing else, we try to make sure we put up displays in our libraries during those times," said Anne Crawford, Ponte Vedra branch youth services librarian. "What an easy way to market what you have in your collection."

Through the month, the Jacksonville branches see an uptick in students checking out books related to black history, said public libraries spokeswoman Stacie Bucher.

"We are available to help; that's why we do the book displays," she said. "Proper merchandising makes people stop and say 'that looks interesting.' That's our role, to get people interested in different topics."

Last week, the Ponte Vedra Beach branch library held a special program where about a dozen library patrons got a glimpse of Tubman's life.

Tubman, an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian and Union spy during the Civil War, is best known for escaping slavery and making 19 trips into the South over 10 years and escorting about 300 slaves to freedom. …