One great initiative that the Public Awareness Committee works to promote is El día de los niños/ El día de los libros (Children’s Day/ Book Day), which was founded in 1996 by Latino children’s author Pat Mora. Día is a special way for libraries to emphasize the importance of advocating literacy to children of all backgrounds while also encouraging families and children to connect with multicultural books, cultures and languages. Exposure to diversity on a regular basis is very important for children and the public library is poised as the perfect space to provide diverse encounters. You can read more about why nurturing cultural diversity in your library is important by reading Jamie Campbell Naidoo’s wonderful ALSC white paper The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children.
At the recent ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Naidoo and Debby Gold of the Cuyahoga County Public Library presented a poster session titled “How Do You Día?”on behalf of the Public Awareness Committee. They invited all who visited the poster session to submit and share their own Día success stories into their iDía jar.
Seven awesome iDías were submitted and here they are!
* A public library donates a book for every child to celebrate Día and partners with other organizations to donate goods for diverse programming.
* At the Salt Lake County Public Library four people demonstrated science experiments in four difference languages to introduce diversity into the community.
* Dallas Public Library offers bilingual Día storytimes and crafts.
* A library shares Spanish language uses for materials and provides multicultural book talks.
* Each New Orleans Public Library branch hosts a yearly program geared towards Día programming. Themes may focus on different countries and their cultures, such as Africa, China, India and Italy. Local authors are also brought in.
* A library in Commerce, CA invited author Antonio Sacre to read during a storytime program.
* A library holds multicultural craft events, including creating Native American dream catchers, basket weaving and Egyptian vases. They also invited an Indian dance troupe to perform.
What stellar iDías! I especially love the iDía to hold a science program in various languages. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the poster session and shared their success stories! Do you have an iDía that you would like to share? Tell us! Better yet, show us! Share photos from your diverse library program by posting on the Día Facebook page.
Nicole Lee Martin is a Children’s Librarian at the Grafton-Midview Public Library in Grafton, OH and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.