Author Archives: Julie Crabb

The Coolest Things We Saw on the Internet: Ethics Edition

Why hello there!

 

Today, we want to share with you some really great posts that have been floating around our world this week. They happen to be about the ethics of librarianship.

 

Your thoughts on librarianship values may be challenged over at Bryce Don’t Play and that is a good thing. Think about how your choices impact the service you provide in your community.

 

Julie from Hi, Miss Julie has been inspiring me/getting me off my butt on Twitter this week (and pretty often in general). She also reminded us of some great (and very applicable) posts she made a few years back. If you have ever wanted to rid the world of ‘bad’ librarians, but are too afraid to speak up, The Ethical Librarian is a must read.

 

Book Riot is focusing on literary activism this week, but my favorite has definitely been this post from Kristina Pino about relatively simple ways diversity, empathy, and kindness can be brought into the classroom.

 

Finally we need so many more library workers who ‘do everything wrong’.

 

(What, you don’t have dance parties in the aisles?)

Sunday Storytime Challenge

Welcome to another Sunday Storytime Challenge! Our goal is to encourage the SU community to try new things and share out those adventures. Challenges will vary widely and can include craftiness, elevator speeches, networking, professional development and beyond!

 

So here is this week’s challenge!

 

1-29-17 Challenge

 

I want your Storytime to be the most welcoming, warm, and wildly fun place to be. How can you ever expect people to feel welcome if you don’t introduce yourself!

 

Now, some of you are probably saying “Hey, I already get my whole crowd to say ‘Hello Miss Julie’ in a silly voice!” Why that is great (and sadly something that didn’t happen when I visited a Storytime recently), it simply isn’t enough. If we want children to connect to books and the library, we need to connect with them. What a better place to do this than in your Storytime?

 

You could share yourself by:

 

  • hugging your favorite books before you share them with the group
  • teaching a song your learned when you were a kid
  • pointing out how you are similar or different from a character in a book
  • talking about what you ate for breakfast before doing Bread & Butter
  • describing your job (wait, you don’t just read kids stories?)

 

Maybe don’t share your weekend escapades as Grape Nose Boy!

Did you have all the kids learn how to spell your name? Did you talk about how your mom used to spread blackberry jam on your toast? Make sure to come back and share with us! There are so many ways you can share:

 

  • Simply comment to this post!
  • Email us at storytimeunderground@gmail.com
  • Tweet it out using #storytimechallenge
  • Do you have a kick-ass blog? Share your challenge story there and send us the link!

 

There is no concrete timeline for you to complete the challenges and they will always remain open.

 

We can’t wait to see what you can accomplish!

Sunday Storytime Challenge

Welcome to another Sunday Storytime Challenge! Our goal is to encourage the SU community to try new things and share out those adventures. Challenges will vary widely and can include craftiness, elevator speeches, networking, professional development and beyond!

 

So here is this week’s challenge!

 

Copy of Copy of Copy of SUNDAYSTORYTIMECHALLENGE

 

Recently, we held a Virtual Guerrilla Storytime on Twitter and Facebook with a focus in discussing social justice issues for Storytime.

 

We were happy to receive some fantastic responses, but the experience also left the Joint Chiefs feeling like we came on too strong. Honestly, there were questions posed that I couldn’t answer. We wanted to take a step back. What would social justice 101 look like?

 

  • Understanding that the library is a portal to knowledge. If we don’t help to change our communities, who will?
  • Using diverse books in your Storytime, displays, book talks, reader’s advisory, and lists.
  • Don’t use gender stereotypes in your library. Offer boys ballet picture books even if their caregiver gives you a look.
  • Please ditch your holiday programming.
  • Recognize that families do not look the same. Rethink offering Mom and Dad based programming.
  • Work on your terminology. Instead of saying mom, dad, girls, and boys try grown-ups and friends!
  • Go beyond ADA compliance at your library. Do you use large print in your Storytime signage? Do you offer chairs in your Storytime room for those that cannot sit on the floor? Be sure to discuss the use of modifications for lifting and bouncing songs and other problematic rhymes.
  • Make some POC flannel sets like Storytime Katie’s babies or Mr. Lou’s mustache from Literary Hoots!
  • Move away from only comfortable workplace conversations. Be a little more badass and take your professional discussions to a new place. There are behaviors, attitudes, and environments that we must address, no matter how uncomfortable or unpopular we may become.

 

As an early literacy provider, we present ourselves to the next generation of leaders. No, your Storytime toddlers will not be able to define social justice for you, but they can take in concepts of fairness, caring, kindness, love, friendship, equality, and respect. I feel like social justice 101 is all about recognizing that you may be doing it wrong. Your ideas, especially if they haven’t evolved in 20 years, may need a refresher. If you think social justice isn’t for your community, you are sadly mistaken.

 

Take this week (and your whole life I hope) to reach out to those around you and discuss these issues. Talk about what you can feasibly do and what you can strive for. Very few of us hold all the power to make changes in our systems. Request a meeting with your supervisor. Send this post in an email to your youth services staff. No one will know that this is important to you until you tell them.

 

Did you sit down with your supervisor to see if they would back you up if you read Mommy, Mama, and Me in Storytime? Did you take an opportunity in a staff meeting to discuss putting diverse titles on all displays? Maybe you went straight to the director to address the lack of diverse stock photos in your marketing. Make sure to come back and share with us! There are so many ways you can share:

 

  • Simply comment to this post!
  • Email us at storytimeunderground@gmail.com
  • Tweet it out using #storytimechallenge
  • Do you have a kick-ass blog? Share your challenge story there and send us the link!

 

There is no concrete timeline for you to complete the challenges and they will always remain open.

 

We can’t wait to see what you can accomplish!

A Response

Hi, I’m Miss Julie and I do Storytimes.

 

Most people believe that I simply read books to children. Yes, that is one of the fantastic parts of my job, but I like to think that I am so much more. I see myself as an educator, an early literacy professional, a mentor, a friend, an entertainer, an activist, and part of a child’s inner circle.

 

I do what I do so that early literacy is brought into the home. I do what I do so that children can feel welcomed, safe, and understood. I do what I do so that children can become better acquainted with themselves and the world around them. I spread love. I bring down the house. I express and applaud individuality.

 

Now, more than ever, it is clear that our nation is divided. A rough estimate would tell me that over half of my Storytime families voted differently than I. I know that there are Storytime Ninjas out there who have different beliefs than I. Out in the world, this social division is ruled by hatred and disbelief. In Storytime, and in all parts of the library, we come together and accept our differences. As youth service providers, we can’t idly sit back and watch the world go by. Not now, not ever.

 

Yesterday, someone asked on Facebook “Can we keep Storytime Underground just about Storytime?” I understood the desire. We have definitely been bombarded with this election. The request was likely in response to a political article that we quickly deleted from our site. However, the answer to this request is no. We have never, and will never, be just about Storytime. At least not in the sense that you are asking.

 

Yes, Storytime Underground is shaker eggs, felt, and how to get caregivers to stop texting. These conversations are what brought me here two years ago looking for the basics. I wanted to be a Storytime librarian and didn’t really know where to start. Now, activism drives those basics. Storytime is social justice.

 

Right now, I am pleading with our community to pull yourselves up and make some changes. These small responses will help you feel more empowered and, more importantly, the children around you will notice.

 

  1. Make the majority of your face out shelving and displays feature minorities.
  2. Remove all ‘Books for Boys’ and ‘Books for Girls’ lists. Books are for people dammit.
  3. Offer boys books about princesses, bunnies, and ballet. Offer girls books about excavators, crime fighting, and dinosaurs.
  4. Add some positive affirmations to your Storytime routine. This idea came from Cynthia Dawn on the Facebook page. In her first ever Storytime, she had the kiddos shout out phrases like ‘I am smart!’ and ‘I am loved!’. (Cynthia, we see great things in your Storytime future.)
  5. Model descriptive affirmation language to caregivers. Instead of saying a baby is cute, say that they are strong, intelligent, or hilarious. Better yet, talk about what they are doing-‘Terry is such a strong climber today’ or ‘Lilah, I enjoy your laughter so much!’.
  6. Katie Salo suggested that you learn the name, and correct pronunciation, of your Storytime friends. Names are important and should be valued.
  7. Watch your gendered language! Make the speckled frog a female once or twice, use grown-ups instead of mommies, be proud of saying they instead of selecting a pronoun.
  8. Notice if the ‘extra’ parts of your library are inclusive. Angie Manfredi’s library had a stuffed library friend lose an arm. Instead of sewing it back on or discarding it, she proudly let it stand that way. Because, not everyone has the same body parts. Do your flyers, Facebook images, signage, and toys show a diverse world?
  9. Take some time to learn phrases in the languages of your community.
  10.  Add some, or a ton, of diverse books to your end of the year carts.

 

Social justice isn’t easy, but these are easy things you can do.

 

So, wake up.

We believe in you.

Advocacy Toolbox: We Need Diverse Books

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have already educated yourself on the grassroots organization We Need Diverse Books. Today, we add this glorious campaign to the toolbox.

 

Take them out for daily use.

 

Advocacy Toolbox with watermark (1)

 

It has been over two years since the first #weneeddiversebooks tweet devoured our emotions and took over our intellectual capabilities. While many were already aware of the lack of diversity in kidlit, so few of us knew what to do. This team has come a long way (two anthologies being published in the next two years) and they have created a wealth of resources along the way. Be sure to head to the site and take in as much as your eyeballs will allow.

 

For starters:

 

  • Be sure to check out WNDB’s Tumblr for the Summer Reading Series 2016. Get these diverse books in the hands of your users!
  • Visit the FAQ! It is dense with well collected material regarding diversity in children’s literature.
  • Peruse this list featuring diverse books for toddlers!
  • Read your way through each of the roundtable discussions. Become a champion for diversity.