Reflections on RRLC’s “We Need Diverse Libraries”

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“Imagine a world where everyone could see themselves in the pages of a book.”

These were the first words of the presentation last Tuesday by We Need Diverse Books. They then asked us to close our eyes for a minute and think about what that would look like. What would you see or hear, and what would that mean for everyone?

The responses from the audience were, “More possibilities would be open to people”; “There would be more avid readers”; “People would know that their narratives are important as well, regardless of their abilities, of what they looked like, or who they were”; “There would be more diversity in careers, in life in general”; “We would see an increase in overall well-being”. It sounds Utopian, doesn’t it? This is within reach.

It can still be difficult to find great books that tell diverse stories, but it is not impossible. The folks at We Need Diverse Books have made it their mission to help us accomplish this goal. If you know where to look it will make your life easier. Some publishers offering diverse reads are:

On their diversebooks.org website is a listing of sites that provide diverse book lists. Under the Resources tab on their site, they also include a book talking kit.

Most helpfully, they have also created an app, currently accessible through your browser, called OurStory, which highlights books with diverse content and by content creators from marginalized communities. It is basically a database designed for you to find books for your libraries.

Look at our Libguide for more resources on diversifying your collection. *The page is currently under construction, so please continue to check back frequently.* Which reminds me: Diversifying your collection is an ongoing process. We live in a constant state of growth and change. Informally audit your collection and add to it frequently.

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