Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Learning from the Mistakes We’ve Made

Image created on Canva Please note that for historically marginalized communities, discussions about mistakes in the workplace may be emotionally challenging, especially if their identity is harmed in some way.  I am of mixed race and I find these conversations can be especially rough when the mistakes that have been made are things that I have experienced from colleagues.  Learning from others can be beneficial, but your mental well-being is more important. Don’t be afraid of opting out of these discussions to protect your peace.  Intentionally inclusive programming has been on the forefront of my mind for the last few years, but even with intentionality, it’s easy to make mistakes. The thing about equity and inclusion is that the learning is ongoing.  You have to commit to it for a lifetime.  As library professionals, we have a responsibility to ensure what we do is in line with what we say—we…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Programming with Purpose through Community Engagement

For those looking to program with purpose, the entire process begins and ends with your community. Similarly to how we perform diversity audits on our collections, it’s important to also take a critical eye to the programs and services we offer. As professionals we understand that every community is different and has different needs, and that our offerings ought to be tailored to those needs. It can be easy to go on “auto-pilot” when it comes to programming, especially when we have recurring programs such as LEGO® Clubs or storytimes, however we should remember to look at all programs from time to time to evaluate their effectiveness.  Programming with purpose means that ideally every program we offer has some kind of goal for our community behind it. The first two questions I always ask myself when planning programs are: 1. Which population in my community am I serving/who is this…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

ALSC Institute – Overwhelmed by Underserved Communities: Participant Responses

Photo of Tammie Benham, Melody Leung, and Georgette Spratling presenting at the ALSC Institute in Kansas City

Members of our committee (Georgette Spratling, Melody Leung, Tammie Benham) presented at last month’s ALSC Institute! We showcased our toolkit for Getting Started with Underserved Communities Thank you to everyone who came to our workshops. We were able to learn about barriers our fellow library practitioners face when working with underserved communities as well as gauge where we all are in our practice.  Below is a summary of participant responses from our collective reflection. The questions asked align with an advocacy framework we presented to help empower library staff to work with underserved communities. If you have your own responses, we’d love to see them in the comments below!  What is the most overwhelming part about working with underserved communities?  What underserved communities do you want to work with? (Check out our toolkits for some examples or inspiration) Imagine a real or hypothetical program/outreach/initiative?  Are there barriers in your organization…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

How to Select Crafts and STEAM Activities

Kids doing a STEM activity with markers and a large piece of paper.

“2010 PopTech Science and Public Leadership Fellows” by poptech is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. One of the best parts of being a librarian and librarian/information assistant is the programming opportunities that we bring to the public. We are flexible educators and literacy partners. We allow the time and space for children and their caregivers to learn, be creative, have fun or just be in a comfortable a library environment. By bringing creative and fun programming to the communities that we work in, we allow for more than one modality for children to get to the books. An example: Program: Building Bridges from building materials include Books that refer to engineering, building, science and technology. How do we bring fun and relevant crafts and STEAM activities to our communities? Here are a few suggestions: Ask the children and caregivers that come to your branches. They have really good ideas. Children are always happy…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

The Impact of Play During Library Programming

Aren’t articles that remind us why we choose to work in youth services rewarding?  While a simple search brings up a plethora of information on the impact of early childhood programs on educational attainment and quality of life, research that supports instructional approach and ties the approach to outcomes are compelling. In the past few years a handful of studies arose that questioned the veracity of research related to early educational impact, postulating that the benefits fade by third grade and public investment is a waste.  However, that’s not quite the whole picture.  It turns out the approach to teaching children in preschools, and other organizations that impact early development-such as libraries, is the deciding factor on whether a program is a good investment of time and resources. This new era of research looks at the differences in instructional approaches in preschools and compares play-based learning to a more traditional…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

EDI In Action: Intentionally Inclusive Book Selection

Selecting books for programs is an essential part of a librarian’s job, but how do we do it with inclusivity in mind?  We all have those books from our childhood that hold a special place in our hearts, but are those books we want to read in storytime? Should we put those titles on displays or booklists?  There are so many new books being published, it can be a bit overwhelming sifting through everything to find the good stuff rather than choosing our favorite go-to classics. When I think of selecting books for programs, I always think about Rudine Sims Bishop’s essay Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.  When a child reads a book about a person who looks or lives like them, they are reading a mirror–they are able to see themselves reflected in the book they are reading.  When a child reads about someone who looks or lives…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Balancing Advocacy With Self Care

photo of 2021-2022 library service to underserved children and their caregivers committee members.

Advocating for initiatives, programs, services, and outreach to underserved populations can be emotionally and physically draining. It is the extra effort we do to lead with equity in mind. Are you overwhelmed by advocacy? Read our blog post about advocacy tips.  Today, our 2021-2022 members of the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee would like to celebrate the end of the committee year with self care tips and reflections. Do you have some tips to share too? Feel free to use the comments to add your own! 

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

New Americans Toolkit: Intentional Programming

Kids playing with play dough on the floor

The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee have created a vibrant, dynamic toolkit for working with new Americans. We have released this toolkit in three parts, Professional and Community Resources, Recommended Read-alouds, and this final installment focused on Intentional Programming.  The focus of this toolkit is on serving children and their caregivers who are new to America. There are approximately 44 million people living in America who were born in different countries. People identifying as new Americans may fall into many categories, some of which may be: refugee, asylum seekers, migrants, or immigrants. As our understanding of different needs increases, libraries are recognizing an important role in supporting new American communities. These supports may include specialized resources, adapted programming, and community partnerships to support children and their caregivers.  Toolkit Preview What you will find in this new release: Materials for the Children’s Room including posters and toys…