A community of parents and grandparents has organized a “black library” to keep their children safe, a library official said Monday.
The library will serve as a refuge for those who feel isolated or threatened by other children, said Monica Gershoff, director of the Santa Clara County Public Library system.
The black library will be located in the Sunnyvale neighborhood of Santa Clara and serve as the central hub for all community members, she said.
The idea of the black library came from the family of a 12-year-old boy who was bullied and harassed by classmates at school.
The boy told the Santa Cruz Sentinel he was forced to hide his books, books on history and the Bible.
“My father said he would tell the teachers to give the boy his books back.
My mother was the one who said, ‘It’s not right for me to have to give him his books,’ ” the boy said.
“I thought that was so disrespectful to the school system.”
The Santa Clara Public Library also has a black library in Santa Cruz, Calif., that has a similar structure.
“We have a library of books, but we also have a black community,” Gersick said.
In 2015, a federal appeals court ruled that libraries and other public libraries must provide a safe environment for all patrons, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
But in the current case, the Santa Monica County Public Libraries board said it felt compelled to act.
Gersoll said the library will use the resources it has available to provide the services that are needed, including outreach to youth and children in need.
The Black Library will be open until Sept. 10.
The Santa Cruz County Public libraries will be offering free admission for students in grades six through 12 through Sept. 9.