Tag Archives: Advocacy

Storytime Underground is not neutral

libraries-are-not-neutral

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. 

 

Literacy Fast Fact – Mirrors and Windows

Recently all of the Joint Chiefs had the opportunity to present on various topics at the Nevada Library Association Conference. We also had the distinct pleasure of attending a presentation on diverse library collections presented by Angie Manfredi. In her presentation, she talked about the origin of the idea that children need to both read about worlds different from their own (“windows”) and read about experiences like theirs and children like them (“mirrors”). I admit I didn’t know that the idea was first explored by  Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop in her paper “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” and was originally published in 1990. Thank you, Angie, for giving credit where credit is most certainly due!

 

 

 

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.

Advocacy Toolbox: Early Intervention and other Developmental Milestones Resources

HI all! This much delayed edition of Advocacy Toolbox is brought to you by a question I hadAdvocacy Toolbox with watermark (1) from a mom in a parent presentation recently. She was asking about speech delays – her daughter had one, she felt, and she was having trouble getting her child’s preschool to work with her to get her daughter evaluated. I referred her to the local free Early Intervention organization and she was happy to have another resource to try.

 

As youth librarians and early literacy advocates, we are experts in early literacy skills development and subsequently know quite a bit about how a young child’s brain develops. For some of our parents, however, that can translate into us being experts about all-things parenting related. I attended a focus group once, in which we were asking parents to use a new early literacy resource website, where we noticed something: parents don’t separate their parenting questions into separate “baskets.” It’s all one big basket, and into it goes every concern they have about their child: questions related to nutrition, discipline, learning, and more. So, naturally, when we answer questions about language and reading development it’s a natural progression for a parent to then ask a question about how their child is developing in other ways.

 

It’s easy to want to try and answer their questions but we know we can’t be all things to all patrons. So here’s where we do what librarians do best: connect them with resources that CAN answer their questions. Here are some I’ve compiled that might be useful for you:

 

Early Intervention: Most states offer this free service to parents of young children. The child can be evaluated for developmental delays, and if needed, get connected to services. Here’s a list of EI services by state.

 

Developmental Milestones: Often parents just need to be reassured that their child is developing on track. Here are some resources:

  • Learn the Signs: Act Early is the Center for Disease Control’s early milestones page. Includes milestones by age in months and printable and printed (free!) materials.
  • Zero to Three is an amazing resource with tons of information for parents on things like infant and child mental health, discipline, school readiness, and more.
  • You will have to wade past a few ads, but BabyCenter offers great information – categorized by baby, toddler or preschooler – about developmental milestones and more.
  • Your local children’s hospital – if you have one – may be a great resource for information about child development. Mine, the Children’s Hospital of Colorado, offers Babies 101 and Toddlers 101 to answer some basic questions.
  • PBS Parents offers sections on child development  up to age 8!
  • From the American Academy of Pediatrics comes HealthyChildren.org, which offers great “ages and stages” information.