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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…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Hispanic Heritage Month: Guided by our Leaders

Hispanic Heritage Month Continues! First, though, I always like to explain the “why”.  Why, Jonathan must we celebrate this every year? Here’s a quote for you that encapsulates the “why” the best, IMHO: Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15 every year.  More than a time to celebrate the contributions of Hispanic Americans, this is a time to celebrate the continued inclusion of diverse materials into your everyday programming.  Inclusion does not have to be like hiding the pill.  As a matter of fact, it should never feel forced.  If it does not feel genuine to you, it will come across that way to your audience.  So, how to proceed?  Where do you seek inspiration or than this amazing blog? Inspiration from Leaders The 2018 Estela & Raúl Mora Award winners were announced just a few days ago.  What better way to explore your options than to draw inspiration…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Hispanic Heritage Month 2018! İCelebramos!

Hispanic Heritage Month is here! Let’s celebrate!  Hispanic Heritage Month comes every year, from September 15 to October 15.  There’s tons we can do to celebrate, include our Hispanic patrons.  Hispanic Heritage Month is about bringing everyone together to recognize all that Hispanic Americans have brought to American culture. And WHY celebrate, you may ask? — https://www.ajc.com/news/fast-facts-hispanic-heritage-month/lzbTmY6zExcR2wAmeb24wL/ Resources for All Not sure where to begin?  Let’s start at the top!  There’s a multitude of resources for all, whether you are confident in your Spanish or not. The Library of Congress has a great page complete with its own calendar that you could adapt to your own programming.  Remember, this is about inclusion.  Make our Hispanic patrons feel welcome, and relevant!  The Library of Congress site has something for everyone.  Select from images, to multimedia, to lesson plans that are easy to adapt to children’s programming. The Smithsonian Latino Center has another…

Commitment to Client Group

The ALSC Equity Fellowship

ALSC Equity Fellowship

This month I wanted to share a new and amazing opportunity for potential ALSC members of color. This post was written by members of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within ALSC Implementation Task Force. The current ALSC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force was charged with implementing a number of recommendations from the first EDI Task Force. One those recommendations was a scholarship for ALSC members of color. We debated quite a long time about making this broad or deep, meaning, should we take this earmarked money and spread it widely to ensure lots of people get their memberships paid for, or should we select a smaller number of recipients and give them a deeper mentorship experience and pay for conference attendance. We looked at a number of factors including; long term culture change, why people aren’t getting involved in the committee process, and the historically white nature of the profession. In the end,…