Adding Diversity to Our Collections

Illustration of diverse representation in children’s books published in 2015.

Yes, Mirrors, but also Windows

Anyone who is keeping up on trends in children’s and teen publishing knows that there has been a big push in the last few years to encourage publishers to print more diverse books and libraries to add these books to their collections. This “We Need Diverse Books” movement has been championed by ALA, ALSC, and YALSA, but there has also been push back.

Some communities question the value of having diverse books because their demographics aren’t diverse. And some libraries feel that books with non-majority characters are a waste of money because they don’t circulate well. Newbery Honor winning author Grace Lin discusses the impact diverse books have on both diverse and homogeneous communities and readers in this excellent TEDx Talk: The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf.

For other resources on diverse books, visit some of these sites:

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Kansas Literacy Week September 3-9, 2017

On August 18th, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., Governor Brownback will sign a proclamation declaring September 3-9 Kansas Literacy Week. The Kansas Masonic Literacy Center (KMLC), working with Kansas Libraries, Kansas Masons, and professional literacy associations invite all residents of Kansas to join in highlighting the economic and societal importance of literacy.

Kansas Literacy Week coincides with National Read a Book Day (September 6th), and International Literacy Day (September 8th).

Communities, schools, libraries, and other organizations are encouraged to use this week to recognize and celebrate the importance of literacy for all Kansans. Feel free to share your plans, ideas, and excitement using #KSliteracyweek and #kmlc.

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Promote Your Library with a Painted Rock Hunt

Heard of Friendship Rocks?


Sort of like geocaching, this fad has people hiding painted rocks around their communities. When someone finds a painted rock, they can share a picture on social media and then re-hide the rock at a new spot. Some libraries are turning this into a PR campaign, and it’s super easy to do.


  1. Paint some rocks. You can do this yourself, with volunteers, or as a program. Be sure all the rocks have the name or initials of your library somewhere on them.
  2. Hide the rocks around your community. Again, you can do this by yourself, with volunteers, or as a program.
  3. Make a splash on your library’s website and Facebook page about the rocks.
  4. Offer a small prize to people who find the rocks and bring them into the library. This can be something simple like, taking their picture with the rock and posting it to your website/Facebook page.
  5. Ask them to hide the rock somewhere new.

Need some rock painting ideas? Check out these websites:

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Rural Libraries: The lifeblood of small towns

And #10, Libraries are safe places……Gone are the days when a person goes to the local library to do nothing more than check out a book and return it or renew it later. Small town libraries have become a provider of numerous services to their communities. Their future will be one of expanding those services even more. The communities that support those services will be more vibrant, educated and engaged.

Phil Hardwick is coordinator of capacity development at the John C Stennis Institute of Government in Mississippi, and he shared the 10 things he learned about rural libraries.  Same applies to Kansas rural libraries.

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National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month: “a month set aside to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections.” To learn more about NFCM, visit the USA Child Welfare website.

Since it’s difficult to know if a child is a foster child or if a family is a foster family, this group may seem invisible within your community.

If you want to do something in your library to honor foster kids and foster parents, a book display would be a great start. Laura, at the blog Literacious, has posted a book list that focuses on children in foster care: 20 Titles for National Foster Care Month.

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) has a wiki focused on serving diverse teens that includes resources for Teens in Foster Care. The shared links lead to library program ideas and information about best practices in serving foster children.

Finally, check out the new title from Melanie Crowder, Three Pennies, which stars a protagonist who is a foster child.

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A Machine to Dust Books, is like a ‘waterless carwash”

Book cleaning spotlight by Library Journal, highlights an Italian-made machine, The Depulvera, as an automatic book cleaning system that dusts about 12 books per minute. It’s compact, simple to use, and can be operated in small spaces—even within stack aisles.  The Boston Public Library tweets about their use of it.  See the company website for more information.

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2017 Summer Reading Workshop

If you missed Sherry Norfolk’s spectacular Summer Reading workshop, it is now available as a video!

Click this link to watch: Summer Reading Workshop: Build a Better World

Workshop Resources:

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Free Audio Books for Teens!

Check out AudioFile’s SYNC summer program!

AudioFile has a summer program called Sync that allows teens (13 – 18 years old) to sign up and receive free audio books! For more details on the program, visit Teen Services Underground and the AudioFile websites.

The SYNC program applies to specific audio book titles that teens can download for free and keep! And, the AudioFile site has promotional materials you can print and share.

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New Resource from National Geographic

Some of your patrons may be interested in this site from National Geographic where they can access and print topographical maps.  You can find it at

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The Rabbit Hole, Kansas City Public Library, and Crossroads Academy are hosting their 1st annual
Children’s Literature Festival!

Friday, April 28th and Saturday, April 29th, the Children’s Literature Festival is made up of author presentations, book signings, and more! Authors attending include: Brian Selznick, Nina Crews, Shane Evans, Sophie Blackall, John Marciano, Javaka Steptoe, and Jon Scieszka.

If you’re interested in attending, find more details at LITFESTKC.

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