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…

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

The Urgent Work of Equity

“May you live in interesting times.”  This old curse seems to be visiting us en masse, as 2020 delivers an endless stream of astonishing and devastating developments. As always, librarians have a role to play in helping children and their families to navigate the world in which we find ourselves. To meet their needs, it’s more important than ever that we strive to understand and connect with everyone in the community.  Inclusiveness is a foundational idea of intellectual freedom, and it starts with knowledge about the challenges faced by people whose experience may be different from ours. Given that roughly only 12% of credentialed U.S. librarians are Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), it’s safe to say that most of us could learn a thing or two about the BIPOC experience in America. And considering the fact that as of 2018 less than half of children under 15 in the…

ALA Midwinter 2018

Community, equity, and storytimes #alamw19

This is the Midwinter session I was most excited for, and it did not disappoint! CiKeithia Pugh, from The Seattle Public Library, opened the session by reminding us that access and inclusion are not equity. It will take intentional, focused work to shift power to our communities. Pugh encouraged us to ask ourselves how we’re sharing power in our work. It’s something I’ll be reflecting on. As librarians, it falls to us to make sure that the things we say we value are reflected in practice. We need to be mindful of dominant power structures: how they affect our work, our own role as individuals connected to a powerful institution, the ways we cling to the power we hold. When we use data to create programs, are we evaluating what we’re not being told? Pugh encourages librarians to supplement every statistic with community-led data. It’s all a part of her…

ALA Annual 2018

The Inclusive Makerspace #WeNeedDiverseMakerspaces #alaac18

It’s been another jam-packed, amazing day at the 2018 ALA Conference! This afternoon I attended The Inclusive Makerspace #WeNeedDiverseBooks session led by Gina Seymour, a School Library Media Specialist. She offered some great advice on making your Makerspace or hands on learning activities accessible for a wide variety of youth, including those with disabilities or language barriers. Gina provided many simple tips with big impact, like providing triangular anti-roll crayons, instruction sheets with a visual cue for each step, and printing instructions in both English and Spanish. Other suggestions included labeling all craft materials used in making with not only a word but an image of what is inside. She emphasized how making can promote the 3 E’s: Equity, Education and Excitement. This session made me think of how my library could reassess our own maker-based activities and  programming so that everyone can be successful and feel welcome. Thinking of…

Blogger Nina Lindsay

Intellectual Freedom and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

It is summer, and my libraries have been slinging lunches along with fun. We’ve been doing it for years, and it’s been hard for me to describe exactly why serving lunch in the library feels so right; until I read Mack Freedman’s post on Libraries and Summer Food Programs at ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom blog this May.   It had never occurred to me to look at food service through an Intellectual Freedom lens, but he points out accurately that these programs “enable a level of access to the library’s services that would otherwise be unavailable due to the effects that hunger can have on learning and involvement.” So I was glad to see ALA Council adopt Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Interpretations to the Library Bill of Rights at Annual conference.  It provides a framework for exploring why we provide the services we do in the way we do,…