Lara Croft Berry, Director of the Langdon Library in Newington writes:
After the NHLA Fall Business Meeting, I got a lot of positive feedback for my suggestion to use Reads to Go kits with racial elements as a jumping off point for discussion about race, privilege, etc. Specifically what I was hearing was appreciation for the concrete suggestion. So I am beginning to make a list of answers to the “what can I do to support diversity, equity and inclusion” question, and thought I’d share some of them:
- Host a Drag Queen Story Hour. Drag queen story hours send a strong visual message of not just tolerance but welcome to LBGTQ individuals.
- Consider diversity when selecting materials for all ages, and putting a variety of those items in prominent places. Would a person of color, or a disabled person, etc. see themselves represented in the books/ movies on display at any given time in your library? Is your library a place they can rely on finding materials both current and relevant to them?
- Use Twitter and Facebook to learn more about perspectives of marginalized cultures. Voices that in the past had no outlet to reach the mainstream are now reaching new audiences through these “free” forums, take advantage of them to educate yourself and give you perspectives to bring up in your book discussions and programs.
- Create a gender-neutral bathroom. Even if a trans* person feels comfortable using the bathroom consistent with their gender identity, this visual acknowledgement of their existence will contribute to feeling welcome. Along these lines, look around your library with a critical eye to issues like this one. Is it visible in your library’s space that marginalized people are welcome and will receive respectful service here? If not, what needs to change in order to make that happen?
This is a jumping off point and I’m not an expert, just someone who cares very much about supporting diversity in our state and our libraries! I am happy to answer questions or provide support if you hit stumbling blocks. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org