Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Equitable Programming

As library and library-adjacent staff, we all probably have a shared mission of making a positive impact on our communities in equitable and inclusive ways. However, how do we ensure that all of our programs, outreach, and services are as equitable as we can make them?  Last month, members of the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee, Georgette Spratling and Ewa Wojciechowska, shared how to grow with your community.  As you listen to community members and actively engage with families, there may be opportunities for larger projects and more partnerships to make them possible. This is a great time to ask yourself and your team questions to ensure that the overall approach will bring the largest impact you can make on those who could benefit the most.  Big Picture: Is this program reaching an underserved community where they are?  Example: A library is hosting bilingual Spanish storytime…

ALA Annual Conference 2023

Growth Abounds at #alaac23

Have you heard of GELS? It’s an acronym from the Connecticut State Library that represents their initiative Growing Equitable Library Services. This session was presented by Kymberlee Powe, their Children’s/YA Consultant, one of the programs co-creators. What does growing equitable library services mean? We often hear the phrase “Libraries are for everyone,” but we don’t always think about how big that term really is. Everyone means everyone, including groups that we may not know much about or who we may be personally uncomfortable with. We need to consciously think about how services for everyone actually exist in our libraries. The very idea of equity is about everyone getting what they need to succeed, which may look very different for different individuals or groups. This workshop series is all about helping libraries become strength-based, trauma-informed, antiracist, social- and emotionally-conscious community institutions. Content was purposefully selected with the ultimate goal of growing…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

EDI In Action: Let’s Move!

When we talk about how to connect with underserved communities, one way is through programs for youth who may be looking for more than books. Instead, they may be looking for a place to belong, a space to develop confidence, or a time that works with their variety of learning styles. I’m a librarian who loves movement in storytimes but also as part of programming for all youth. As a kinesthetic learner, I try to incorporate many different access points in my programs to connect with a variety of learners. As a Chinese martial artist, I like to bring what I have learned as well as acknowledge community members who may want to share. Today, I’d like to focus on using movement as a way to enhance programs you already do or as inspiration to partner with others to authentically bring a new type of program to your community. Storytime….

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.