Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Partnering to Expand Inclusiveness in Your Collection: Girls of the Crescent

When putting together a library collection many librarians strive to collect a variety of materials full of the latest and greatest books. In a youth collection this also means collecting books to suit all reading levels and building an inclusive collection that is reflective of everyone in the library community. Building an inclusive collection of materials is important in all library collections, but it is especially important in a youth collection because a child who does not see themselves in the world of literature may be discouraged enough not to read. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to find inclusive books and that’s when it’s helpful to build a partnership that will improve your collection. Rochester Hills Public Library was approached by two high school Muslim girls named Mena and Zena Nasiri, who were always avid readers, but grew up longing to see themselves in literature. They decided to make…

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Unpacking a Book Challenge: A Conversation with Kristin Pekoll

In 2017, a young mother named Michaela Jaros was in the West Chicago (Illinois) Public Library when her three-year-old daughter pulled a picture book from the shelves. The book was This Day in June, by Gayle E. Pitman, a colorfully illustrated poem depicting a Gay Pride parade. SLJ called This Day in June “a great addition to a school or personal library to add diversity in a responsible manner without contributing to stereotypes about LGBT people.” Ms. Jaros did not share SLJ’s opinion, and immediately brought a challenge to the library.

Blogger Jamie Campbell Naidoo

All Are Welcome Here: Celebrating Global Diversity and Getting Involved with ALSC

All are welcome here! I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before. We seem to be using it more and more in an attempt to indicate that our library spaces are inclusive. Some recent children’s books proclaim “all are welcome here,” and feature a mosaic of diverse children and families. There is a song that goes one step further stating, “all are welcome here, as we are.” Lofty goals for any children’s librarian; but do we put those words into action in our services and programs? Do we REALLY mean that everyone is welcome as they are? Do we embrace one type of diversity in the library but overtly (or covertly) shun other types of diversity by using the excuse that X type of diversity cannot be understood by children or Y type of diversity is only in the name of being politically correct? In addition to thinking about welcoming all…

Blogger Jamie Campbell Naidoo

Please, Choose Kind and Welcome the Stranger at Your Door

Hate, divisiveness, and despair have become the new normal for many in our world. When there are daily news stories of abuse and murder due to someone’s gender identity, religious beliefs, skin color or other form of diversity, it is easy to become numb or perpetually live in a state of fear and/or anger. Places of worship are no longer safe nor are homes, shopping centers, recreational centers, clubs, schools, or libraries. For those privileged to fit into the approved social norms or mainstream within a particular community, perhaps life is still raging on without too many hiccups. That is, life continues as long as no one out of the ordinary enters the picture to challenge the status quo. Perpetuating Hate & Unkindness in the Library I would wager to guess that every one of us has been in a situation when we encountered someone in the children’s department of…

ALSC Board

Voting Day in Your Library: Welcoming All Today and Everyday

It is voting day! What does this mean for libraries? If your library is a polling location, then you will have the opportunity to welcome a diverse group of individuals through your doors. Folks that use the library all the time, those that may have never visited your library, or others who have not darkened the library’s doors in decades. Persons from all walks of life are sure to be in the library today! Do you have any special displays or signage to let everyone know that “All are Welcome Here?” If not, you still have time to promote diversity and inclusivity via informal displays of diverse books. This might be the one opportunity to make the difference in someone’s life – to provide a welcoming smile or friendly gesture to let the know that they belong at the library. If you need suggestions for titles to pull for informal displays,…

Author Spotlight

34th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference

Last week, I attended the 34th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference at Kent State University, focusing on multicultural literature for children and young adults.  Living in Northeast Ohio, I have attended several times in the past; however, this year I am a newly minted member of the Conference’s Advisory Board and got to see a bit “behind the curtain” of the event as well. In addition, this year was unusual.  The typical April date was changed to October to be combined with a Literacy Conference Kent State was hosting this year, and that content was also included in breakdown sessions. The Conference began Thursday evening with dinner, the Arnold Adoff Poetry Awards, and one of the Conference’s three keynote speakers, poet Marilyn Nelson. Present to pick up their poetry awards, and to read excerpts from their work, were winner Nikki Grimes (One Last Word) and honor recipients Hope Anita Smith (My Daddy…