Does My Collection Reflect My Community? Diversity in the School Library
Sylvie Shaffer, PreK-8 Librarian, Capitol Hill Day School (DC) (@sylvie_shaffer)
Matthew Winner, Elementary School Librarian, Howard County Public Schools (MD) (@MatthewWinner, @ChildrensBkPod)
Shannon McClintock Miller, Future Ready Librarian Spokesperson, K-12 District Teacher Librarian, Van Meter Community School (IA) (@shannonmmiller)
On April 30, 2019, All4Ed and Future Ready Schools® held a webinar for Future Ready Librarians. Panelists discussed the value of maintaining a book collection that not only reflects the school community, but also is reflective of the global community of which we all are a part. Recognizing that centering diversity means centering the stories, experiences, and voices of historically marginalized people, including people of color, indigenous voices, LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies, differently-abled individuals, and neurodiverse voices.
Culturally responsive library programs take into account not only the content and sensitivity of lessons and supporting materials, but also what items are being purchased for the collection, what materials are being displayed or recommended to the school community, what voices are invited into the school or library for author visits or artists in residence, and what impact the work taking place within the library has on the global community.
The panelists explored
- What does “diverse” literature mean?
- What is the value of “own voices”?
- What would help dissolve your fear of being challenged for including a book in your library?
- Where do I start? How do I keep going? How do I question practices that I might have thought are best practices that may have revealed themselves to be hurting or marginalizing others?
- What is a diversity audit and how can information collected through a diversity audit inform future purchases for the library collection?
- What resources are available for becoming more aware of diverse books?
- What is the value of a diverse book collection to a class or school with a homogenous population?