Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Diversity of Books: Reflecting our Reality?

Keeping our collections equitable and harmonious. How can we increase the number of diverse titles to reflect our diverse realities in society? What are the barriers to increase diverse perspectives in our libraries?

Social Justice and the Role of Libraries

In the course Global Contexts and Social Justice in Youth Literature, we thought about defining multiculturalism, diversity, and social justice.  Below is the course description.

Examines books, media, and other resources for young people (ages 0-18) in a multicultural, globalized, and increasingly digital media-saturated world. Explores the history of multicultural writing for the young, and major issues and debates of youth literature concerning diversity, racism, power, ideology, etc. Guides students to better select, interpret, evaluate, and promote such literature, media, and resources according to young people’s various needs (intellectual, emotional, social and physical).
(Lucht, 2013).

Who Is on the Cover?

Nell Fleming a graduate of the University of Illinois Certificate of Advanced Studies program completed a research project Who Is on the Cover? The Demographics of Fictional Picture Books in the Twenty-First Century. Bringing Balance to Selected Topic Areas for an Anti-Racist Library. Here is a link from her blog providing more information about the project.

Resources to build collections representing our diverse society

General Information

Identifying Multicultural Literature. What does it mean to be progressive?

Stereotypes & Cultural Authenticity

Library Services for Diverse Populations/Multicultural Library Services

Youth Literature Awards
Crisp, Thomas. “It’s Not the Book, It’s Not the Author, It’s the Award: The Lambda Literary Award and the Case For Strategic Essentialism.” Children's Literature in Education 42 (2010): 91-104.

Iowa is no exception with experiencing a cultural melting pot in our global society.  Are we exercising social justice in the books we select for the Iowa Book Awards?   What about our Iowa Award selection process? Does our criteria need to expand and/or change so more titles that reflect diversity exist on our award lists?  I think that award titles should reflect diversity of appeal and different points of view.