Sunday, October 7, 2018

Inclusive Libraries and Developing a Diverse Library Collection

Finally! My talk on Inclusion and Diversity in Library Services and Programming pushed through last October 6, 2018 at the training hall of JRich Building in Quezon City. Thanks to the Philippine Board on Books for Young People and Lampara Books for putting this together. There were only ten participants but all of them were eager listeners and have keen interests in running literacy and reading advocacy activities in their own communities. Numbers do tell success in talks and workshops like this, and so do  interest and enthusiasm. 

Here’s hoping I was able to inspire them! As always, I came out of the experience with insights. I learn from the participants of my workshops and talks. That’s why I enjoy conducting them!

First of all, the issues we talked about are all common across different library types: how to make our libraries appeal to kids and teens, raising a bigger budget to develop a diverse collection, support from school leadership, selection of resources based on readers’ profile and building a dynamic librarians support system. Needless to say, we came from different libraries but our battle cry for support and visibility remains the same. 

When Lampara big boss Jun Matias came in to say hello, we couldn’t help but talk about sensitive topics in children’s literature. His new book for young adults, Mga Batang Poz, is all about HIV and young people infected with virus. And so, the question on inclusion and representation came up. How to circulate and render services for a book such as this? Will it pass evaluation? If acquired, who will read such sensitive topics? What followed was a rich discussion of processes and decisions making skills on the part of the librarian.

Lastly, the participants took notes of the varied library and reading advocacy projects and programs I presented. From the Human Library to Reading Without Walls, to micro libraries and pop-up libraries initiated by The Books Stop, Pilar Reading Center and Tabang Kariton, they all had takeaways and ideas to bring back to their schools and learning communities.

Diversity is what makes us unique. Inclusion is the actualisation of diversity. Libraries are inherently made for inclusive services and the development of diverse library collections. More on this in future posts!

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