The 2019 American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National Conference was held in Louisville, Ky., in November. While the weather in Louisville was decidedly frosty, the atmosphere in the convention center was warm and enthusiastic.
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As a child, I was very curious, annoying my family with my constant questions. In adulthood, that curiosity led me to librarianship. I am constantly trying to learn new things.
Libraries are key to expanding people’s curiosity, not just about the world, but about each other. For your library to truly be open to all, a place where everyone is welcome to learn about each other, you need to engage all segments of your community — not just those that you are intrinsically a part of.
Library workers are invited to apply for the American Library Association’s Great Stories Club series on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT), a thematic reading and discussion program that engages underserved teens through literature-based library outreach programs and racial healing work.
Last fall, we attended the School Library Journal Leadership Summit in Brooklyn, N.Y. The theme of the conference was “Make Good Trouble.” During that whirlwind weekend of learning, we attended a breakout session with Cicely Lewis, the school librarian who started the movement known as Read Woke.
According to an article Ms. Lewis wrote for School Library Journal, woke books:
In honor of Black History Month in February, the Portland Library held an all-ages event with screenings, games and activities celebrating black superheroes. We screened episodes of “Static Shock,” a TV show from the early '00s that featured a black superhero, and had an array of games, coloring pages and a book display.
We have held the event for the past four years, and it has grown in popularity each time.
Our library has a collection of American Girl Dolls and a multicultural collection with artifacts from all over the world. Both circulating collections are very popular.
We decided to create a program linking the artifacts to the historical American Girl dolls based on the characters’ causes, the beliefs they stood for, and what their corresponding books are about.
ALA will join the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and organizations across the country in observing the 2019 National Day of Racial Healing on Tuesday, Jan. 22. On that day, thousands will celebrate our common humanity and take collective action toward a more just and equitable world. (Read the proclamation by ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo.)
Since January 2015, the Allegheny County (Pa.) Library Association has allowed children to check out American Girl dolls, along with educational pamphlets about the time period they represent. The dolls come with clothes, hairbrushes, books, a carrying case and a journal where users can write about their experiences with the dolls.