Although diversity and representation have long been core tenets of the library profession, recent research in racial trauma and lasting physical, psychological, and social effects reinforces the unique role of the librarian in serving youth communities.
The authors of challenged book Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice discuss censorship, how racism affects children’s health, and how anti-racist literature benefits society.
Hurston wrote “What White Publishers Won’t Print” in 1950. Seventy years later, #PublishingPaidMe exposed what we now know as the disparity of publishers’ pay advances to Black writers compared to White writers. There is a historical notion that Black books won’t appeal to a broad audience that has long been discredited through the success of many Black books. Hurston’s use of African-American Vernacular (AAV), her portrayal of black women, and Black cultural traditions were used to center Black lives in her stories. Because the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020 are primarily of diverse people and topics, it is imperative to continue supporting and making opportunities equitable for Black writers.
I personally really enjoy (if “enjoy” can be considered the right word) the exploration of tough social justice issues through the lens of fantasy or science-fiction – often through the vehicle of anti-magic prejudice. I feel the fantasy context allows the reader to take a step back from the real world, while allowing the reader to think critically about equality and justice in a less personally challenging way.
This year many libraries will be marking the anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The anniversary presents an opportunity for uplifting and highlighting voices that have gone mostly unheard.
The #eBooksForAll initiative can be applied to other issues of access: eBooks in prison and accessibility.
On July 12, the world celebrates the birthday of Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist, author, and speaker, Malala Yousafzai. While perhaps most widely known for being shot in the head by a member of the Taliban on the way home from school and surviving, Malala was an outspoken advocate of girls’ rights and education before that. Make plans for the children and young adults in your libraries and classrooms to discover her work and message.
Dr. Angelou’s words urge us all to push past our fears, our anger, our hate. To find freedom in the good, the kind, the welcoming. To embrace our neighbor, both human and the world. To rise and feel the pulse of a new day.
Celebrating the remarkable, revolutionary role that Susan B. Anthony played not just in helping gain suffrage for women but in advocating for intellectual freedom.
By: guest contributor Carole Soden; “I fully understand why some libraries feel more comfortable not using Dr. Seuss books but I feel there is also another approach.”