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 2023

Creating a Diversi-TEAM at #alaac23

No matter the size of your library or your community, diversity is an important part of our experiences. This session was presented by Joselyn Williams and Chris Robinson. Their key idea: No one should be made to feel less than, unwelcomed, or judged. No characteristic or trait should outweigh your worth as a person. Examples included gender, race, ethnicity, age, cultural background, religion, political views, native language, sexual orientation, disabilities, education, and more. The Diversi-TEAM concept combines two elements: diversity and team. In this case, TEAM stands for Through Education Achieve More. This underscores the importance of education in addressing problems with insensitivity and microaggressions. Often, we aren’t aware of our microaggressions. The first step: being aware of our biases and understanding what counts as a microaggression. As an individual and as a leader, you can be the first example. By doing the hard work to recognize your biases and…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Universal Design in Storytimes-An Open Invitation to Play!

Have you ever broken a bone?  Or accidentally injured your eye and needed to wear a patch?  If so, you may have unexpectedly developed empathy for individuals who navigate everyday life with disabilities. Using universal design to create storytimes events helps libraries plan for successful participation and play. By using universal design, all people are assured opportunities to engage at the library!

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…

ALA Annual 2022

Toward Inclusion and Equity for Young Children in Public Library Programs

A Pivot to Crowdsourced Wisdom and Resource Sharing #alaac22 After all the pandemic-related shifts to programming and policy, most folks are weary of the word “pivot,” but there is no better word for what a room full of librarians did at #alaac22 when the presentation they were looking forward to fell through. The topic: accessibility and inclusion for children with disabilities and their caregivers. The room was prepared well for such an event, with ASL interpreters and on-the-fly closed captioning (which was excellent, by the way) simultaneously available. Upon realizing the presenters would not be arriving, a few intrepid leaders took the mic and suggested we use the time anyway, offering to tap into the collective wisdom in the room. What followed was an inspiring and truly remarkable session, full of ideas, insights, and an amazing sense of community and solidarity. As we all began to realize what a gift…


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…