Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Learning from the Mistakes We’ve Made

Image created on Canva Please note that for historically marginalized communities, discussions about mistakes in the workplace may be emotionally challenging, especially if their identity is harmed in some way.  I am of mixed race and I find these conversations can be especially rough when the mistakes that have been made are things that I have experienced from colleagues.  Learning from others can be beneficial, but your mental well-being is more important. Don’t be afraid of opting out of these discussions to protect your peace.  Intentionally inclusive programming has been on the forefront of my mind for the last few years, but even with intentionality, it’s easy to make mistakes. The thing about equity and inclusion is that the learning is ongoing.  You have to commit to it for a lifetime.  As library professionals, we have a responsibility to ensure what we do is in line with what we say—we…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

EDI In Action: Intentionally Inclusive Book Selection

Selecting books for programs is an essential part of a librarian’s job, but how do we do it with inclusivity in mind?  We all have those books from our childhood that hold a special place in our hearts, but are those books we want to read in storytime? Should we put those titles on displays or booklists?  There are so many new books being published, it can be a bit overwhelming sifting through everything to find the good stuff rather than choosing our favorite go-to classics. When I think of selecting books for programs, I always think about Rudine Sims Bishop’s essay Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.  When a child reads a book about a person who looks or lives like them, they are reading a mirror–they are able to see themselves reflected in the book they are reading.  When a child reads about someone who looks or lives…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Collaboration and Equity for Summer Programs: A Recap of a #PLA2022 Preconference

The PLA conference was over a month ago, but I’m still unpacking the preconference I attended. “Best Practices for Summer Learning Based on Racial Equity” was a half day workshop presented by Christy Estrovitz from the San Francisco Public Library, Sheryl Evans Davis from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, Christi Farrah from the Massachusetts Library System, and Elizabeth McChesney from the National Summer Learning Association.  The workshop revolved around the 2021 “Everybody Reads” summer program sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library along with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. Like everyone else, the Library had to think fast about how to offer a summer reading program during the pandemic. The program consisted of a kit that included a 38 page full color booklet that featured eleven books for a variety of ages. Each book is a positive portrayal of an underrepresented community. The booklet includes activities to go along…

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Celebrating Our Differences

We are all different, and that’s okay.  I say this statement out loud at minimum once a month, usually when confronted with the unsavory news about banned and challenged books, book burnings, etc.; activities that are, at best, seriously misguided attempts to protect young minds from being exposed to topics deemed to be above their maturity level. The empath in me is always seeking to fully understand and walk in the proverbial shoes of someone else. However, the more I peruse the list of challenged titles, the more confused I become. Our country is a gumbo of cultures enhanced by the lived experiences and traditions of diverse people whose uniqueness adds flavor to our Americanness.  Just as there is no such thing as a one ingredient recipe, neither should there be the promotion and elevation of one singular story. To say that there is not room for more than one…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Serving Underserved Communities: EDI in Action

child running towards a large tower of boxes

This year, the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee transitioned our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) goal. We started with providing authentic resources, then moved to empowering library (and library adjacent) staff to hone, develop, and take action on their advocacy skills. Above all, we’re providing support and different ways to interact with our resources, like presentations, chats, and our monthly blog posts. Over the past 18 months, we developed vibrant toolkits to help connect library communities with resources for different underserved populations.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Overwhelmed by : Diversity Audits

overwhelmed by books

Serving marginalized and underserved communities is multi-pronged. One prong is through a literary perspective where collections reflect the communities we are trying to serve, whether they step foot into the library or not. Diversity audits. We know them; we respect the reasons for them. And the very thought of them is almost debilitating. A diversity audit is a count of titles to see what percentage of your collection is what. What percentage of your collection features white cis protagonists? What percentage of the collections features people who are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community or portrays body neutrality? Auditing your collection can provide great data to help you answer questions like, “What percentage of my collection features characters who are Native/ First Nation/ Indigenous?” A deeper audit may answer the question, “What percentage of my collection features characters who are native that aren’t historical?”  To collect this information, many libraries…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Overwhelmed by: Outreach to Migrant Communities

Outreach to underserved communities is an overwhelming endeavor. Our committee does not want to make it look easy because it truly is not. However, we truly believe that all library staff can do this type of work with the right tools and support. This is why one of our focuses this year is to bridge the gap between tangible resources (like our existing toolkits) and how to get started. Melody Leung and Marika Jeffrey wrote an article in this summer’s issue of  Children and Libraries with some guiding questions to help evaluate your community, develop fruitful partnerships, and implement programs and outreach with specific communities in mind.  Guiding questions can be helpful but specific examples might help bring those concepts to life. Here is a specific example about reaching out to a migrant community: Getting Started  Four years ago, I started working in a rural community in Washington State. To…