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.

Guest Blogger

Baby Time Boredom No More at #PLA2024

It seems like baby time boredom is sweeping the nation, if the turnout at my first presentation for the day, Baby Time Boredom: Building Culturally Responsive Programming for Ages 0-3, was any indication. Annamarie Carlson (Westerville Public Library, OH) and Sarah Simpson (a former librarian and current Family Engagement and Literacy Specialist at the A. Sophie Rogers School for Early Learning at The Ohio State University) presented to a full house of fellow children’s services librarians waiting eagerly for fresh ideas on this classic program. Using a culturally responsive model looks different at every library, and that’s exactly the point. By weaving your patrons identity into your programming, you make things personally relevant to a family’s experiences. Simpson talked about pulling inspiration from “funds of knowledge” – children’s accumulated experiences in their households with siblings, friends, communities, and caregivers. In addition, it’s important to think about your community expansively. How…

Blogger Suzi Wackerbarth

Diverse picture books don’t disappoint, focus on the individual and the universal

Three picture books and a yellow legal pad. The first book is "There was a Party for Langston" which features a blue background and a crown holding Langston Hughes, carried by dancing people. The second book is "Words between us" and features a Grandmother looking lovingly at her Grandchild. The third book is "Skating Wild on an Inland Sea" and the title words seem to be made by a skating child at the bottom of the title image.

One of my favorite things about being a children’s librarian is seeing new picture books. 2023 was an amazing year for picture books, and in today’s post I wanted to focus on three diverse picture books, two of which are overtly diverse. Who knows, maybe one of these will be on a Caldecott or Newbery Awards list!  I’ll start with an October title, There was a Party for Langston, by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey. The front endpapers are a veritable who’s who of Black writers from the Harlem Renaissance to modern day, including Ashley Bryan and Toni Morrison. Each person is depicted as a book on two shelves, listed alphabetically. What kind of book will this be? We see people entering a building on the title page, all dressed up in finery. It looks…promising. And then the fun begins. The artists and the authors are…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Celebrating Diwali with a STEAM Activity: Fostering Cultural Competency in Libraries

A photograph of the diya card fully decorated and with the LED lit.

As librarians, we strive to create inclusive spaces that celebrate diversity and promote cultural understanding. Diwali, also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights, is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world. Typically lasting for five days, it is observed by Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and some Buddhist communities. Diwali is a time of joy, gratitude, and hope for millions of people. Embracing this multicultural event enhances our understanding of different traditions and creates a welcoming environment for families that celebrate Diwali. A fun and easy Diwali STEAM activity that you can do at your library is to create a paper circuit diya card. A diya is an oil lamp that is lit during the holiday to symbolize the triumph of good and light over evil and darkness.