Keeping the Peace: Children and the 2016 Election

General Interest, Information Access

Vote 2016With each new week of the 2016 Presidential election, the competition has been getting more and more intense, and even the most civil candidates have begun slinging mud at each other. Riots from some candidate’s rallies have gotten ugly, with real life disputes finding their way to children’s classrooms. Even if children can’t vote, they are still being influenced by the political climate. This election is teaching one thing, hate is acceptable.

The stories that we share frame lessons for our little ones. What lessons are children learning as they navigate uncertain political terrains that are coming closer and closer to their daily lives? Perhaps they are wondering if their friends and classmates will be discriminated against depending on who is elected. It doesn’t help that the vilification of a particular candidate can sometimes backfire and perpetuate hate. We are shining a light on differences, but instead of embracing them, we are calling them wrong.

As librarians and information professionals, we seek to create atmospheres where information can be relayed freely without bias. However, this election is creating murky waves where it is increasingly challenging to keep cool and remain impartial. We want open access for everyone, but our political climate is pitting person against person for uncontrollable things like race, identity, gender, etc. With children on the sidelines, watching and absorbing it all, and fearing a future that they will be forced to live with.

Other important articles:
My Daughter is Afraid of Donald Trump

Muslim child’s fear: “Is Trump going to exile us?”

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Amy Steinbauer is a Children’s Librarian for DC Public Libraries. She specializes in outreach and early literacy. She has her MLISc from University of Hawaii, and a B.A. in English from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. She won the 2015 Conable Scholarship to attend ALA Annual in San Francisco, and will be presenting at the 2016 Annual conference in Orlando, FL. She loves professional development, and is currently serving as a Board Member at Large for the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS), is on ALA’s Public Awareness Committee, and on the SASCO Committee through NMRT. She loves mermaids, and advocating for libraries, and will one day combine them both to take over the world! Until then, follow her on twitter @merbrarian.

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