Putting the Let’s Talk Race Curriculum into Practice


Photo of young people of diverse races sitting and holding word balloons.

In 2016, Richland Library (Columbia, SC) formed the Let’s Talk Race team to create opportunities for civic engagement, build community connections, and encourage courageous conversations. To date, the nationally-recognized team has facilitated more than one hundred discussions, community forums, and events, reaching more than 4,000 participants. To further the reach of its important and impactful work, Richland Library has developed an open-source facilitation curriculum and digital toolkit that is freely available to other libraries, businesses, and community organizations that want to support diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. In this on-demand webinar, participants get step-by-step instructions and best practices on how to implement the Let’s Talk Race curriculum in their library.

Originally presented June 7, 2023.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Use the curriculum to facilitate their own Let’s Talk Race discussions, programming, and services;
  • Create opportunities for civic engagement; and
  • Build community connections to encourage courageous conversations.

Who Should Attend

This on-demand webinar is intended for public library directors; administrators; equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) practitioners; and program managers.


Tamara KingTamara King is the chief equity and engagement officer for Richland Library in Columbia, SC. In her role, she is tasked with the development and support of the library’s equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives, programs, and partnerships, ensuring community engagement efforts reach underserved and marginalized populations. Tamara also supports the library’s award-winning Let’s Talk Race team. Through her leadership, the team has held discussions surrounding race, women’s rights, and social justice for nearly 4,000 participants and helped raise $200,000 to support EDI initiatives and programming at the library.

Additionally, Tamara is an ALA Spectrum Scholar, and she is a nationally and locally recognized award-winning public relations professional. She was recognized as a 2019 Library Journal Mover and Shaker for her role in Richland Library’s race, equity, and social awareness work.


Melanie HugginsMelanie Huggins is the executive director of Richland Library, which received the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor. Melanie has received recognition from several local and state entities. Her work is influenced by her belief that libraries are uniquely positioned to make communities more livable, resilient, and inclusive. She is a recognized leader and speaker in the library profession, having held trustee positions with both the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) and the Public Library Association (PLA)—including 2021–2022 PLA president.

Melanie is a Liberty Fellow, member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and a member of the Spring 2018 class of Furman University’s Riley Diversity Leaders Institute. She has served as past chair of the TogetherSC board; past president of the University of South Carolina’s University associates board, and former City Center Partnership board member.


Heather McCueAs the children and teen services manager at Richland Library, Heather McCue works with staff at all locations to develop, plan, coordinate, and support diverse programs and initiatives for children, teens, and their families. She is a proud early literacy advocate, editor-in-chief for Kids in Print, Richland Library’s literary magazine, and the co-lead of the Let’s Talk Race team. She has been recognized as a Mover and Shaker by Library Journal, selected as the South Carolina Library Association's 2016 Outstanding Librarian of the Year, and was also awarded the Peggy Parish Prize. Throughout Heather’s life, her driving force is the utter belief in the power of people and stories to change lives, uncover the truth, and bring communities together.


Kim ZabludBefore starting Advancing With Purpose, which provides strategic planning and project management for mission-driven organizations, Kim Zablud worked in leadership roles at the DC Public Library (DCPL) for eleven years. As DCPL chief of public services, she oversaw twenty-five neighborhood libraries and 400 staff. She also helped lead a $210 million modernization project for DCPL’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington, which opened to award and acclaim in September 2020. In 2018, Kim added public safety and the library’s special police officers to her portfolio of departments.

Prior to DCPL, she worked as a librarian at the New York Public Library and a project manager at Kadix Systems, a management consulting firm serving government clients. She is currently an adjunct professor at Catholic University, teaching the public libraries course, and was an adjunct instructor at DUOC community college in Santiago, Chile.


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This on-demand webinar is closed captioned in English (United States).

If you have a physical or communication need that may affect your access to this on-demand webinar, please contact us at plawebinars@ala.org or 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752) prior to registering so we can attempt to provide appropriate accommodations.

Tech Requirements

To play this on-demand webinar you should use a browser with native HTML5 support. Please use the most up-to-date version available of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Edge. A fast Internet connection and computer is recommended.


This webinar is presented by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to plawebinars@ala.org or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).

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