[kids-lib] We Need Diverse Books: resources for librarians

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Tue Jun 3 09:20:49 PDT 2014

You may have heard in the news about the We Need Diverse Books campaign that has been making the news lately. Here is the campaign's official site: http://weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com/keyposts

What can you do at your library?

*         Does readers' advisory for diverse books focus on the diverse aspect of the book or its universal appeal? This cheat-sheet created by author Grace Lin might help: http://www.gracelin.com/media/press/diversitycheatsheet.pdf

*         Is the collection diverse?

o   Check out books on developing diverse collections from the State Library: http://osl-lis.blogspot.com/search/label/cultural-competency.

o   Visit the 'Where to find books in other languages' webpage http://www.oregon.gov/osl/LD/Pages/youthsvcs/rfhf.book.other.langs.aspx

*         Does each display in the library include diverse books/audiobooks? Establish a process that works for your library to make sure they always do.

*         Does book-based library programming include diverse books? Establish a process that works for your library to make sure diverse books don't get left out of programming.

o   If you have great book talks for diverse books, please share them via this listserv!

o   What are your favorite diverse storytime books?

o   What are your favorite diverse book club titles?

Here is an article by Walter Dean Myers that describes the issue from his personal experience as a black man.  We Need Diverse Books is about all types of diversity, not just black authors, characters, and themes so this article just address part of the issue: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/opinion/sunday/where-are-the-people-of-color-in-childrens-books.html?_r=0

*         Of 3,200 children's books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people, according to a study<http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp> by the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin.

*         In the dark times... I needed more than the characters in the Bible to identify with, or even the characters in Arthur Miller's plays or my beloved Balzac. As I discovered who I was, a black teenager in a white-dominated world, I saw that these characters, these lives, were not mine. I didn't want to become the "black" representative, or some shining example of diversity. What I wanted, needed really, was to become an integral and valued part of the mosaic that I saw around me.

*         Books did not become my enemies. They were more like friends with whom I no longer felt comfortable. I stopped reading. I stopped going to school.

*         Then I read a story by James Baldwin: "Sonny's Blues." I didn't love the story, but I was lifted by it, for it took place in Harlem, and it was a story concerned with black people like those I knew. By humanizing the people who were like me, Baldwin's story also humanized me.

Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528

[Fizz Boom Read][Girlandcloud]
Summer Reading 2014 at Oregon libraries<http://libdir.osl.state.or.us/>!
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