Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Embracing Diversity During Autism Acceptance Month

Happy Autism Acceptance Month! When you think of an autistic person*, who are you envisioning? Maybe Sheldon from Big Bang Theory? Or Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man? In popular culture, we tend to have a stereotype about who is autistic. That person is usually white, male, heterosexual, and cis-sexual, but in reality, the autistic community is incredibly diverse! Take the time this Autism Acceptance Month and update your recommended reading lists, your displays, and your storytime selections to reflect all kinds of autistic experiences.

Blogger Tess Prendergast

Indigenous Board Books for Every Baby 

We know that the general benefits of reading board books are numerous. Here are just a few reasons why we spend time and money curating and maintaining board book collections for families in our communities to use.  I have noticed a great surge of fantastic board book fare that features Indigenous cultures and languages and believe that all board book collections should be audited for excellent Indigenous content. Here are a few recommendations: Indigenizing board book collections First and foremost, when looking at indigenizing our board book collections, we need to  explore whether there are any resources from the nation whose land we are on right now. It may turn out that there are few or no board book formats of a local nations’ children’s stories and other cultural materials available yet. We can still work in culturally appropriate and respectful ways to learn about (and possibly curate and provide) whatever children’s…

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

Quiet Censorship

I have an ugly truth to share: there are materials in my collection that I dislike. I work in a large multi-branch public library system with centralized selection, so I have not been involved with the purchase of any of these materials. My lack of love for some of these items comes from a variety of reasons: poor writing quality, a didactic message, being super commercial. Many are innocuous fluff and aren’t hurting anyone by being available but I still see them as junk food. For the most part, these are books I probably wouldn’t put on display because they are so popular and easy to find already. But I am not opposed to their being on display. Some recent purchases, however, have caused me to pause and think about why I considered not putting these books on display. Did I want to avoid complaints? Or was there something even…

Blogger Chelsey Roos

Encouraging A Culture of Rereading in Your Library

It happened again this week: a caregiver told a young reader to put a book back. “You’ve already read that one,” they said. “Go put that back and find something new.” I’ve heard many well-meaning adults say this to a child in their charge, often once they’re standing at the self-check. And I understand what they’re thinking – they want their little reader to grow by reading something new. But research on reading tells us that rereading is actually great for developing readers. How can we create a rereading culture that subtly (and not-so-subtly) encourages grown-ups to take home that Dog Man for the fortieth time?

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Incarcerated Loved Ones: Picture Books 

We often think of divorce or military service as events that might contribute to families being apart, but family separation due to imprisonment is also a reality for some of the families we serve. According to recent data from the Prison Policy Initiative, almost half of the over 1 million individuals in our prisons are parents to minors and nearly 20% of those minors are under the age of 4. Although a higher proportion of parents in prison are fathers, the imprisonment of mothers has been steadily increasing. Vera, a prisoner advocacy organization, explains that (due to institutional racism and bias) the parents of children of color and children experiencing poverty are more likely to have their behavior criminalized, resulting in harsher charges, and longer sentences than their peers. We obviously don’t know our patron’s personal stories, but given these statistics we should assume that all of us at any…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Misnamed and Mispronounced: Picture Books

Along with a change of seasons, September also brings many other changes: a new school or new school year, new routines, new teachers, and new classmates, just to name a few.  Although often exciting and enjoyable, for some children the new school year can also be stressful and anxiety provoking if their names are challenging for their teachers and classmates to pronounce. Some questions that children in these situations might be grappling with are: Will my new teacher be able to say and spell my name? Will the other kids be able to remember my name? Can or should I change my name to make it easier for everyone else?  An article in the following NEA Today Newsletter, Why Pronouncing Students’ Names Correctly is So Important, discusses the emotional toll experienced by children when year after year they must contend with teachers and classmates who repeatedly misname them. For further…