Youth Services Check-In Notes from October 13, 2021.  Topic:  Promoting Diverse Books

We started with the question:  What are some things that work for you to promote diverse books?  Here are some great ideas from your colleagues:


  • Florence in Bloomer talked about their book bundles, and being sure to include diverse books in book bundles of every theme.
  • Laura in St. Croix Falls is doing a personal challenge, trying to read exclusively books with non-white protagonists during storytime this fall.
  • We discussed the need to talk about this with other staff members, and Claire shared some excellent webinars that led some staff to feel like they really understood the need for diverse books more than ever before after watching.  Here’s info about those webinar recordings (thanks Claire!)
  • Put books that are not circulating well on top of the shelves, kids tend to grab these
  • Make sure you are purchasing beautiful and attractive diverse books—both staff and the public are more likely to be drawn to them.
  • Resources for helping to evaluate and find books by authors and/or about specific identities:
  • Working with schools and teachers, 4-H clubs and more to share books, making sure your booklists and booktalks include a big variety
  • Book displays, make sure they include a big variety—don’t segregate books into “diverse book” displays, make sure they are a part of every thing you do.  Recommend books as good books about fishing, farming, Halloween, or whatever.
  • Do an audit of your displays, your booklists, the books you feature in programming and make sure it includes a range of authentic portrayals of various identities
  • Remember that an identity is not a monolith.  Not every autistic person will appreciate the same book or the same portrayal of autism.  Not very trans person will like the same stuff.  But be on the lookout for stereotypes, negative portrayals, etc.  These might not be the books to feature heavily.  Remember the TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story.
  • We also talked some about books that have an authentic portrayal of a character with a particular identity, but the book is not about that.  It is important to have both!  As Samma said, “Creating normalcy instead of otherness”


Finally, storytime round-up:  Someone asked what folks are planning to do once the weather gets colder.  Many are already inside in a big space, requesting masks.  Some are planning to go on hiatus.  Some are planning to go back to virtual.  Some are considering a hybrid model.


Our next check-in is Thursday, November 4 at 2:00 pm.  Topic:  DISPLAYS!