This year, Storytime Underground is issuing a new blog challenge: Storytime for Social Justice. We are asking youth services librarians to use their storytime power for social justice, to take a long hard look at their programs, displays, and services, to make sure we are fighting every day for empathy, inclusiveness, and social justice, and be a #StorytimeJusticeWarrior.
Here is what I promise to do as a Storytime Justice Warrior:
- Use at least one book featuring and/or written by people of color (or other marginalized, underrepresented characters) in every single program. I’ve actually been trying to do this for a few months, and it isn’t always easy. Sometimes I don’t make it, but then I push even harder to make sure my next program uses only books with/by POC. Also, representation is way more important than some cutesy theme, so get over that excuse. But also, check out Everyday Diversity which includes themes with book suggestions.
- Book talk and recommend more diverse books with POC and #ownvoices books. This means reading more diverse books too. If you aren’t reading diversely, then go read this post.
- Make my storytimes and other programs more inclusive by using language to offer alternate activities (“If you are able, lift your baby in the air. This can also be a snuggle song!” and “If you want to, let’s jump for this verse.”), asking parents to correct me if I mispronounce their child’s name, being intentional about the songs and activities I choose (we no longer clap our crazies out in my library!), and always listening to people telling me new ways to be inclusive.
- Seek out new favorite standby songs and flannel boards that include diversity. Got a suggestion? Please share!
- Continue to feature displays highlighting diverse books.
- Follow more blogs about diverse books and by librarians and authors of color, and follow more librarians and authors of color on Twitter.
This is just a start! As I continue to learn and challenge myself, I will continue to add to this list.