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.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Overwhelmed by : Diversity Audits

overwhelmed by books

Serving marginalized and underserved communities is multi-pronged. One prong is through a literary perspective where collections reflect the communities we are trying to serve, whether they step foot into the library or not. Diversity audits. We know them; we respect the reasons for them. And the very thought of them is almost debilitating. A diversity audit is a count of titles to see what percentage of your collection is what. What percentage of your collection features white cis protagonists? What percentage of the collections features people who are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community or portrays body neutrality? Auditing your collection can provide great data to help you answer questions like, “What percentage of my collection features characters who are Native/ First Nation/ Indigenous?” A deeper audit may answer the question, “What percentage of my collection features characters who are native that aren’t historical?”  To collect this information, many libraries…

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

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 Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Toolkit: Spanish-Speaking Populations

San Mateo County Libraries Spanish Section

The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee is devoting the 2020-2021 calendar year to creating a vibrant, dynamic toolkit that provides ALSC members with up-to-date resources for working with marginalized populations.  Each toolkit page will provide professional and leisure reading recommendations, support for programming, and materials for families.  As dynamic documents, these pages will continue to grow and develop as we find new resources, share our experiences, and continue to learn. This month, our LSCUTC Toolkit focuses on resources for serving Spanish-speaking populations. According to Census data, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States with approximately 42 million speakers (Source: Census.gov).  Most of our resources focus on creating an inclusive space for Spanish-speaking families through materials, programs, and outreach. When working with specific communities, be aware of the importance of cultural authenticity in your approach, partnerships, and resources. Building trust and relationships with…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

An Interview with Rex Ogle

Last month, the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee (LSUCTC) rolled out its second toolkit page for children’s librarians. This page was devoted to providing programs and services for children facing homelessness and/or financial insecurity.  Author Rex Ogle, who wrote the debut memoir Free Lunch about his experiences with poverty during childhood, offered a few additions to our toolkit. We invited him to chat with us about how librarians can help children in this often overlooked population. 

Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee

When Early Literacy Research Feels Personal

Recently, one of the important little ones in my life was diagnosed as having autism. Leading up to the diagnosis, I’ve become increasingly focused on how best to continue to encourage his love of books (as an 11 month old, he had the longest attention span and joy for stories of any baby I’ve known) and thinking about what research tells us that might inform how best to present a early literacy storytime for him. Our ALSC Early & Family Literacy Committee discusses at each meeting our plans for our regular second Sunday of the month blog posting and at our September meeting, I confidently declared, “I’ll do something on the research about autism, early literacy and storytimes”. Then I promptly searched databases for peer-reviewed sources and tried to get my poor brain to process the language of research journals. I printed three articles and brought them back and forth…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

New Toolkit to Help Youth Experiencing Financial Insecurity and Homelessness

Colorful mural on wall of homeless shelter

The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers (LSUCTC) committee is devoting the 2020-2021 calendar year to creating a vibrant, dynamic toolkit that provides ALSC members with up-to-date resources for working with marginalized populations.  Each toolkit page will provide professional and leisure reading recommendations, support for programming, and materials for families.  As dynamic documents, these pages will continue to grow and develop as we find new resources, share our experiences, and continue to learn. October’s LSUCTC Toolkit focuses on youth and families experiencing homelessness and financial insecurity. One national estimate concluded that the number of public school children in grades pre-kindergarten through 12th who experienced homelessness during the 2017-2018 school year was a staggering 1.5 million (source: National Overview from the National Center for Homeless Education). With the current instability brought about by the pandemic, it seems reasonable to assume these numbers have increased. Youth experiencing homelessness may try…