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.”
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.
Inspired by Travis Jonker’s series of posts about the highest circulating books at his school library (chapter books, picture books, nonfiction books, diverse books), here’s a list of the highest circulating juvenile fiction at my small public library branch this fiscal year. It’s a lot of the same, but it’s interesting to see a few differences.
Each year since grad school, I’ve tried to take one ALSC/YALSA e-course to keep my librarian skills sharp. This year I’m taking “Building Reflective Collections…Always Teens First” with Julie Stivers (@BespokeLib). I’ve loved the course so far, and I wanted to take a second to share a bit about what we did for one of the assignments.
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.
By now, many of you will probably have read the WSJ article about school librarians. Correction: white male school librarians. You’ve probably also seen—and hopefully participated in—book Twitter’s rage about the deliberate erasure of female voices (not to mention voices of color). If so, good. If not, you have work to do.* I’m angry, too. Me, a cis white male, who has been called a “rock star,” “amazing,” or (my favorite) “brave” because I am male in a female-dominated profession. Yes, I’m privileged. But I’m still angry.
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.