- ALA Annual Conference 2022

An Invitation to Curious Families to Explore Race and Culture at the Library

As a lifelong student, I don’t mind an academic, lecture-style presentation at conferences, but a great panel with an engaging interactive component is always a delight, and at #alaac22, a team from Evanston Public Library (EPL) offered exactly that with their session titled, “Beyond Booklists: Family Engagement Through Race and Culture Education at the Library.”


Talking with Young Children (0-5) about Race

As youth serving librarians, we have a unique opportunity to build relationships and interact with young children and their families. This opportunity allows us to support families in many ways: building literacy skills, learning the importance of play, enjoying library programs, and of course much more.  Among the “much more” is the opportunity to speak with young children about race, to speak with caregivers about how to talk about race, and to model talking about race with children for their caregivers. It’s Never Too Early to Talk with Children about Race Research indicates both that children notice racial differences from a very young age (Winkler, 2009) and that if caregivers do not openly talk about race with children, children make up their own, often erroneous, meaning from what they see (Bigler, as cited in Dwyer, 2013). But, many caregivers/librarians/teachers, particularly white folks, are uncomfortable talking about race. They may feel…