A couple months ago, I wrote a post about performative allyship as it relates to storytime—specifically, my own storytimes. I conducted a diversity audit of the books I used during storytimes at my branch and realized that I was failing as an ally and social justice advocate. I decided to make a change and resolved “to read at least one book featuring characters of color or another marginalized identity in every storytime I lead.”
A year ago, I left my AmeriCorps position at an inclusive preschool and child development center for my first true librarian gig. My time with AmeriCorps was one of the most rewarding, confusing, challenging, and life-changing years in my life. For a moment, I thought I would ditch librarianship altogether to become a preschool teacher. Instead, my experiences kindled the special passion I have for early literacy in my library work.
Even though I broke my suitcase and got lost way more times than I’d like to admit, I made it safely back to Eugene! Last weekend was full of so many surprises—including some hard truths. Rather than delve too deeply into it all, I’m going to suggest that you take a look at my and other contributors’ guest posts on the ALSC Blog. There was so much coverage of the conference that you’ll almost feel like you were there.
I co-facilitated a training last Saturday called “Promoting Diversity and Equity Through Children’s Literature.” Representatives from Child Care Resource Network, SMART, and SOESD Early Childhood Services (where I was stationed as an AmeriCorps volunteer 2015-2016) developed this training last June. This was our second time presenting it in Medford, OR. I can’t share everything we talked about, but I’m happy to share my part—which mostly consisted of booktalking some of my favorite diverse reads for the 0-6 audience.
This is a post about “performative allyship,” a phrase that I’ve been hearing about a lot lately. You can read more about it here, or you could honestly just look it up on Twitter and see what all the people there have to say about it. As I understand it, performative allyship is a theatrical performance. It’s all show and no action. It’s saying you’re interested in a Black Lives Matter march on Facebook but not actually showing up. Or it’s saying Beyoncé deserved the Grammy instead of you but you still accept it.