Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Overwhelmed by: Advocacy

a stack of books supporting a heavy desk

Our committee, Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers, is part of Priority Group 1: Child Advocacy. We are dedicated to lifting all library staff up to advocate from any position for underserved children and their caregivers. In our toolkits and blog posts, we detail the process of researching your community, listening to your community, and comparing the needs to your current and potential library services. The later piece of evaluating your own organization is crucial for conducting outreach, programs, and services to underserved communities.  We have two committee members, Erika Lehtonen and Melody Leung, who have worked together to create a list of tips when conducting advocacy through an equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) lens. Spend time understanding your organization and the people in it. No matter if you are a library director, school librarian, public librarian, library staff, or in library adjacent industries; concentrate on building relationships…

Administrative and Management Skills

Overwhelmed By: Researching Your Community

Reaching traditionally marginalized or underserved communities is overwhelming. We don’t want to make this work look easy; it truly isn’t. However, we believe library staff at all levels can do this work with the right tools and support. This year, we’re bridging the gap between tangible resources and getting started. Today, we’ll focus on researching your community.

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 Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Spanish-Speaking Toolkit Follow-up: Interview

This month, we are following up on our Toolkit for Spanish Speaking Populations with an interview with Amelia Martinez. She is both part of the Spanish-speaking community and serves the Spanish-speaking community and brings a wealth of insight to working with underserved populations.  What is your current position? How long have you worked in your library/community?  I am a Public Service Assistant (Cultural Focus) at the Whatcom County Library System. I started working for the library system 10 years ago. Prior to the library, I worked at a Migrant Head Start as a teacher aid. Before that, I worked for 5 years as a Community Health Worker for Sea Mar Community Clinic. I learned how challenging it is to access services for a lot of Hispanic families. It’s hard when you come from a different country and you are dealing with a language barrier. You are learning everything including the…

Blogger Meg Smith

Grant Revitalizes Deposit Collections after Hurricane Matthew

Sometimes our programs and services can be discontinued through no fault of our own, and we have to think outside the box to re-envision this work. This was the case for us when Hurricane Matthew caused major flooding to our community in 2016. Our deposit collection services, located in the lower level of our Headquarters Library of Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center in Fayetteville, N.C., sustained severe damage when flooding damaged all central operations. Deposit collections provided a lending library of rotating, gently used, discarded children’s materials. These collections were sent to child care facilities and other community organizations serving youth. These child care facilities qualified for services because the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education ranked these centers with low ratings of one, two, or three stars. Each facility also served a minimum of ten children. The majority of users receiving deposit collection services…