Public Libraries: Diverse Reads Can’t Be Confined to One Month

There is a pattern throughout public libraries and schools nationwide where diversity takes center-stage. Generally, it happens during Black History Month, National Hispanic Month or any other historical or cultural month. During February for instance, when walking into a public library, there will be a full display of books from a multitude of African American authors. However, come March 1st, you may not see that selection again for another year. While celebrating cultural history is incredibly important, it cannot be the only time that culture is significantly highlighted in public spaces.  

 

 Nicole Overton recently published her frustrations with her local library as she also wondered why diverse books were only publicized during their respected heritage month. She said, “As much as I love my local library, it has become predictable in its timing and placement of diverse books. In February, I can always count on seeing a large selection of books promoting Black History Month. Many of these titles I’ve never seen throughout the year, but because it’s Black History Month, there they all are, standing proud, front and center. The same is true for National Hispanic Month from mid-September to mid-October, Asian Pacific American month in May, and American Indian Heritage month in November. For the other eight months of the year, the displays are filled with the usual books featuring white characters or happy-friendly animals”.

 Overton makes a very interesting argument in her opinion piece believing that people (in this case librarians) may believe those going to the library will view the idea of diversity as taboo and not with its obvious definition of inclusion. Maybe then, according to this thinking, diversity in the minds of those deciding what books to highlight is associated with “minorities” and not with everyone. Only then could a month that highlights diversity give these public space officials “permission” to highlight diversity.

 Obviously the logic is flawed. However, it is important to understand what mindset is driving people to shy away from diversity, something that is positive and inclusive of everyone. It is not about a lack of authors from diverse backgrounds; the problem lies in the perception of diversity itself and a choice not to display an array of books from various cultures. Furthermore, libraries should be the very place that the beauty of culture is explored; children (and adults) should be able to delve into books that help them both understand their world and experiences and also to expand their mind to explore those that might be quite foreign to them. That is and should be the beauty of a library! It should excite children, captivate them and make them anxious to discover! It is damaging to everyone to not see their own cultures reflected all-year round and also to a differing culture to not see diversity beyond their own race or ethnicity.

This is the very reason Little Proud Kid took shape and features children’s books from diverse cultures. If our public institutions don’t even provide this fundamental exposure to diversity, the burden lies with the parents (and grandparents, teachers and family members) to provide children this essential education.

We wanted to make it a little bit easier so that these books could be held in one marketplace that would allow parents to easily expose and provide their children this fundamental diversity education at home. Click here to see all the books we offer for every age range!

 

Little Proud Kid

www.littleproudkid.com

A place to celebrate all people… one people. We focus on bringing an array of multicultural toys, books, resources and more to help you teach and celebrate the uniqueness in each and every child.

May 02, 2016 by Georgia Lobban
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