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Books Beyond Borders Reading Challenge

October 2019 - February 2020

Perhaps we all like to think we are open minded and fair, but if something is not within your personal experience, how do you know or understand the challenges that other people face? How do you develop empathy and understanding?

A good place to start is by reading about the lifestyle, culture, behaviour, beliefs and challenges sometimes faced by groups within society based on characteristics such as sex, race, religion, gender identity, sexuality, age or disability.

The Library is inviting all staff and volunteers to take part in an informal reading challenge – Books Beyond Borders – which will run from Black History Month in October until the end of LGBT History Month in February 2020.

We invite you to read two books (or more if you wish!) about people or groups that are unfamiliar to you or not within your personal experience. You could start by browsing our Equalities Collection which includes books about race, sexuality, disability and women, or choose your own books to read on these topics.

The books could be factual, biography, poetry or fiction.

If you wish, you can include a short review of your books which we would like to use to encourage others to read beyond their personal borders.

If you provide your email address on the Reading Record, we will enter you into a prize draw for a £40 book token.


Here’s what Nicola Cottington, Chair of the West Suffolk LGB&T+ Network had to say about Books Beyond Borders:

“I consider myself to be an open and curious person but it wasn’t until I read “Natives” by Akala that I had more of a comprehensive view of racism in this country and beyond. As a white woman I will never experience the racism that BAME people experience so I think it’s important for me to actively learn and understand. None of us can know everything, and sometimes it is difficult to understand someone else’s perspective. Prejudice and discrimination are still present in society and can really affect people’s lives.


As the Chair of the West Suffolk LGB&T+ I have never been more “out” as a lesbian in my career and that brings its own challenges. I would ask people to seek to understand rather than judge. This reading challenge enables all of us to reach beyond our experience to gain insights into the lived experience of people with different characteristics to us. I believe this makes us all more compassionate and challenging of prejudice. Thank you to the library for taking inclusion so seriously and for providing this book collection”.

Download your Reading Record here

Mood Boosting Books

THe clocks have gone back, nights are drawing in, why not try one of our Mood Boosting Books? Click on the link to view the collection

WSH Trust ambitions