Collection Development

How to Conduct a Diversity Audit

I learned about the concept of a diversity audit from a School Library Journal article by Karen Jensen. In a diversity audit, you evaluate an existing collection or service provided by your library to get hard numbers on how diverse your collection or service truly is. This can cover anything from seeing what percentage of your board books feature non-white characters, to how many LGBTQ+ titles are written by Own Voices authors, or evaluating the performers you’ve hired over the last year to see if they are representing diverse cultures.

Blogger AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Long (Inter) Division

Besides having the longest committee name in ALSC, the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation has an important task: to foster partnerships between library workers in all types of library agencies. Consisting of members from all three of ALA’s youth-serving divisions (AASL, ALSC, and YALSA), the Interdivisional Committee’s unique make-up is ideal for the collaborative work we do. This year, the Interdivisional Committee has received our charge from the AASL, ALSC and YALSA Presidents-Elect. We are to develop a shared online space for the three divisions to share the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) work done by our members. Ideally, this will be a resource clearinghouse where library staff serving youth in school and public libraries can network and brainstorm together around EDI topics and best practices. While I personally can’t wait to get to work on this project with the members of the Interdivisional Committee, I recognize that…

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

The Urgent Work of Equity

“May you live in interesting times.”  This old curse seems to be visiting us en masse, as 2020 delivers an endless stream of astonishing and devastating developments. As always, librarians have a role to play in helping children and their families to navigate the world in which we find ourselves. To meet their needs, it’s more important than ever that we strive to understand and connect with everyone in the community.  Inclusiveness is a foundational idea of intellectual freedom, and it starts with knowledge about the challenges faced by people whose experience may be different from ours. Given that roughly only 12% of credentialed U.S. librarians are Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), it’s safe to say that most of us could learn a thing or two about the BIPOC experience in America. And considering the fact that as of 2018 less than half of children under 15 in the…

Blogger Public Awareness Committee

Fantasy and Sci-Fi Children’s Novels from Diverse Perspectives

I had been looking forward to this year’s Summer Reading theme, Imagine Your Story, since it was announced a few years ago.  Fantasy is one of my favorite genres and I knew the programs and displays we could have around that theme would be wonderful.  Of course like most things in 2020 things are not going the way I expected. 

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

19 Positive Summer Reading Activities During COVID

chalk board with words what's your story

Adapt If COVID has taught me anything, it is to keep in mind the one-word slogan of Navy SEALS: Adapt. We are public librarians. We adapt. We adapted during the digital age to maintain our relevance. COVID is not going to stop us. Irrespective of where you are right now, summer reading has boiled down to three options: passive, curbside or virtual. We remain in the unique position of being able to touch the lives and hearts of our community. We have a responsibility to remain positive, and to disseminate hope. Read on to see how 19 positive summer reading activities during COVID can make the difference. 1 – Radio I’ll never forget growing up the impact just one radio station had on my hometown. The station was 45 minutes away by car, but everyone in my school knew it; always had it on. You couldn’t see the DJs, but…

Blogger Abby Johnson

Black Books Matter

This article from the Washington Post is haunting me this week: White Americans, your lack of imagination is killing us by filmmaker Kasi Lemmons. Please click through and read this powerful piece, which was brought to my attention by Nora Rawlins of Early Word. Lemmons writes “…when it comes to black life in America, there’s only one conclusion I can reach about some white people: You don’t care to put yourself in our shoes. The consequences of this lack of imagination for black Americans are deadly.” It’s haunting me because, white librarians, this is what we do. And we need to get better at it.