- LibLearnX 2022

Embracing Diversity in Book Evaluation Committees #LibLearnX

Presenters Crystal Chen, Daniella Pagan, and Jessica Agudelo shared a wealth of knowledge in this session titled “Embracing Diversity in Book Evaluation Committes”! Even if you aren’t starting your own committee, I want to share valuable information for any library staff working with children. There’s too much juicy goodness to cover in one blog post, but here are some takeaways:

  • All book evaluation committees – local and national, big and small – have a significant role and responsibility. We influence publishers, librarians, and kids with our choices.
  • Choose titles that contain realistic, culturally accurate, and nuanced character depictions.
  • Question the status quo: early librarians centered collections on books with Euro-American and Christian worldviews, which were devoid of non-white stories and promoted stereotypes of BIPOC people. Let’s be the change!
  • Be open minded and willing to examine your own biases. Be receptive to others’ perspectives, and allow your mind to be swayed.  
  • Language is powerful. Be aware of antagonist language, such as “fighting” for our favorite books. We aren’t literally in a battle!
  • Promote titles within your collections that patrons may overlook.
  • There are books that get a hard no. Titles with transphobic, homophobic, ableist, sexist, or racist imagery & messages do not belong on our lists

We all want a strong, culturally competent collection and a compassionate, culturally competent community of readers (and staff!). Let’s continue to reimagine children’s librarianship.

Conference Blogger Katie Clausen is the Early Literacy Services Manager at Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, IL. Katie’s specialties include: early literacy, children’s literature evaluation, play-based learning, and best storytime practices. As a member of the ALSC Notable Recordings committee, Katie is most excited about collaborating with others to select the final list. A member of ALA and ALSC since 2012, and loves a conference snack of Ghirardelli peppermint bark.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

One comment

  1. Jamalia Higgins

    Good session and reminders of do’s and don’ts.

    This thread on Twitter is a bit of a counterpoint, however, when people take control a bit too far: https://twitter.com/jckphnx/status/1485655752823947267

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