We can do better in terms of inclusion. We must do better. As youth services librarians we do not simply purchase and organize books. Nor do we mindlessly offer programming. We think about what we are doing. We fill needs in our community, the people we represent and the people who rely on us. Inclusion will fill this need and much more.
The struggle with diversity:
As of February 2015, we are still behind in diverse children’s literature:
Isn’t quality children’s literature enough?
Quality children’s literature builds strength in readers. Getting children to pick up a book and read it speaks to how well the book reflects their lives. Creating a collection and designing programming that are diverse welcomes patrons from a range of cultural backgrounds. Above all, our efforts will encourage empathy by helping kids better understand their similarities and differences.
The world we live in is only increasing in terms of its diversity and connections. Building a better world means preparing children to be global citizens. When we aim for inclusion, we must put action behind diversity. Programming should introduce children to diversity. Consider exploring countries that either they, their families or their neighbor’s families come from. Virtual trips to cities, holidays and wildlife, tasting foods, and listening to diverse music nurtures future world citizens. Children are naturally curious and emotional. Feeding them positive experiences helps combat the negative news that pours from our screens.
Here’s some great places to start:
First Book’s “Stories for All Project”: https://www.firstbook.org/about-first-book/the-stories-for-all-project
First Book’s Immigrant and Refugee Experience books
And speaking of inclusion, here’s some great programming ideas: