Announcing: a virtual Guerrilla Storytime for Social Justice

By now, I hope you have read our Storytime for Social Justice Kit and started thinking about the Social Justice Blog challenge. Today we are thrilled to announce our next virtual Guerrilla Storytime to go alone with our Social Justice Challenge. On Friday, January 6, we will be posting Guerrilla Storytime for Social Justice questions all day long on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #StorytimeJusticeWarrior.

 

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Follow along, share your answers with our community, and learn a great new resource or tip to help you with your own Storytime for Social Justice challenge. Not sure what a question means or why it is an issue? Just ask!

 

After the event, we’ll be posting a roundup of all the questions here, so check back to make sure you don’t miss anything great!

 

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Storytime for Social Justice Blog Challenge

You may recall our Resolve to Rock blog challenge from the last couple years in which we challenged librarians to blog about their professional goals for the new year.

 

This year, we have a new blog challenge for you: the Storytime for Social Justice Challenge.*

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Image by the amazing Rebecca at Hafuboti

As youth librarians we have a lot of influence and a large captive audience of small children, and now more than ever it is vital that we do our part to make the world a better place. We offer services to make our communities — ALL members of our communities, from those we see to the marginalized faces that don’t use the library, — feel represented, welcomed, and appreciated.

 

Take a moment to think about what you can do to help teach empathy and inclusiveness in your programming, your displays, your space, your services. Check out Julie’s post for some inspiration and examples, take a look at our new Storytime for Social Justice  kit, and then tell us what YOU are committed to doing for your community!

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Write a post on your own blog using this image**, share with the hashtag #StorytimeJusticeWarrior, and
post a link in the comments here.  If you don’t have a blog, we are happy to host guest posts! Get in touch via email at storytimeunderground (at) gmail (.) com and we will share your post on this site.

 

Once you’ve written a post and made a commitment to social justice, I encourage you to print it out and post it by your desk, or in your planner. Maybe make it the background on your computer. Whatever will help keep these ideas in the forefront of your mind. Because supporting Storytime for Social Justice is great, but only if you actually do it.

 

*Wondering why social justice belongs in Storytime Underground? Just a reminder that Storytime Underground is NOT neutral. We were built on social justice, and we continue to serve that purpose. If you don’t like it, you do not have to participate, but this is NOT and has never been a place for only storytime ideas.

 

** Our blog challenge image was lovingly created by Rebecca at Hafuboti. Thanks Rebecca!!

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Storytime For Social Justice Kit

This is the time of year when you normally see the SU community light up with resolutions to change our practices, learn something new, and improve our services. It’s a time when we ramp up our energy and set goals to smash expectations of what libraries should be. It’s a tradition we love and honor, but this year is different.

 

This year most of us in the library profession had our ethics, hearts, and years of work demolished by a perfect storm of bigotry, ignorance, and apathy. In the wake of endlessly disappointing legislation, devastating and infuriating election results, and ever-capitulating leadership (both in our government and in our profession), the Joint Chiefs are choosing to fight. Our weapon is something so innocent and so elegant that you may miss its power on first glance.

 

We’re fighting back with Storytime.

 

See, we think that when we are faced with fascism on a terrifying scale, it is radical to empower the public with messages of strength in community, empathy for those who are different from us, equality with those we cannot understand, and love without boundaries. We think it’s nothing short of sedition to sow the seeds of unity, equity, and power.

 

We think Storytime should make bigots tremble. It should establish a place of belonging and safety, raising up families who are willing to advocate for one another. It should normalize and celebrate diversity, dispelling all fear of differences. It should give children the foundation they need to have confidence in their ideas, pride in their ability to make and change things, and a place of acceptance for voicing their thoughts and feelings.

 

Storytime is social justice.

 

So, yes. This year is different. Instead of asking for your resolutions, we’re issuing a challenge to throw away your trusty road map and become an explorer again. Re-examine your mission and practices and choose the path to being a social justice warrior. We invite you to join us in reading diverse titles, using your songs and activities to create a sense of community and safety, and encouraging support and love among families and neighbors.

 

As always, we’re here to support you as you make this leap. Below you will find a kit complete with book suggestions, songs, flannels, and extension activities. We’ve also included some ideas for fostering constructive conversations in Storytimes and linked to other lists that may be helpful.

 

Click here to view and use our brand new Storytime for Social Justice Kit.

 

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If you’re ready to take a stand with us, shout it out. #storytimejusticewarrior

And, don’t worry. There is much, much more to come. Check back with us next week for more resources related to this challenge.

 

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Storytime Underground is not neutral

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Libraries are not neutral. This is so important, especially now.

Storytime Underground is not neutral.

 

We have never been neutral. We exist to challenge you and provide a space to learn. We stand for social justice.

 

Sadly, there has been a rise of racist, xenophobic, anti-semitic and Islamophobic discussion and comments on the Storytime Underground Facebook page. Let’s start with the basics: This is NOT ok. Much of this comes out of discussions as to whether or not Christmas or other holidays should be celebrated in libraries. We at Storytime Underground firmly believe that the public library is NOT a place for holiday celebrations, and have written publicly about that.

 

In the past, we have allowed librarians to debate the topic in the Storytime Underground Facebook page for this main reason:

 

We have new members every day, and even veteran librarians and SU members may not have seen this discussion before.  Many have never considered the idea of not celebrating holidays in the library. By being exposed to this discussion and learning about the deep core ethical reasons for NOT celebrating, they have changed their personal ideas in this topic. THIS is why we do the work we do- so that librarians who might not otherwise be exposed to other ideas have a place to learn.

 

We keep an eye on these discussions, and try to step in when things get ugly, as they have more often in recent days. We publicly post our stance, we shut down the comments, and we have deleted posts that do not adhere to our guidelines.

 

But this is getting harder.

 

We are only a few people, working full time jobs with families, and we don’t always catch these threads in time. A number of other wonderful librarians have helped contribute to these discussions, making valid points that we agree with. We firmly believe that it IS NOT and SHOULD NOT be the job of marginalized people to fight this battle- this is a battle against privilege, and librarians with privilege need to step up and fight the fight. This means us.

 

We will not permit any discussion or comments that are racist, anti-semitic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, or in any other way hateful or a violation of our professional ethics.

 

Period.  We will delete any post that we deem inappropriate, and stick up for those being bullied.

 

But, we need to ask for your help as Storytime Guerrillas, especially from non-marginalized people to help keep the space safe for marginalized voices. If you are being bullied or having hate speech directed at you, please tell us. If you see this happening, please tell us. If you see it and we don’t, or if you see it before we do,  please please please, report a post and tell us about it. There are seven of us Joint Chiefs (Cory Eckert, Kendra Jones, Julie Crabb, Brytani Fraser, Mary Kuehner, Soraya Silverman-Montano, and Holly Storck-Post) and we can only catch so much of what’s being posted.  However, there are 8,000 of you and with our powers combined we can hopefully stop hateful comments and posts as soon as they emerge.  We will listen. We are committed. And we need your help. 

 

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