Tuesday, November 29, 2005 

10 Steps toward a More Multicultural Youth Library

Denise Agosto has developed the following 10 steps to develop a more multicultural youth library. She sites research that shows that "young people learn reading, writing, comprehension, and analysis skills the most easily from texts that mirror their own cultural backgrounds" (38). This is why it is so important to develop a multicultural collection at your library.

10 Steps toward a More Multicultural Youth Library
1) Reevaluate your mission statement
2) Assess your library's physical environment
3) Diversify your collection
4) Emphasize collaboration
5) Model bilingual materials
6) Model multicultural materials
7) Foster dialog
8) Arm yourself with research
9) Engage your community
10) Appreciate diversity

Agosto, Denise. "Bridging the Culture Gap: Ten Steps toward a More Multicultural Youth Library." Journal of Youth Services in Libraries 14 (2001): 38-41.

Monday, November 28, 2005 

5 Myths

From the ALA website:

"When marketing to minorities, Reese and Hawkins caution libraries against believing 5 myths:
1) Minorities are the same as Caucasians
2) Minorities are homogenous
3) Libraries and library professionals can effectively utilize mass media to reach all minority populations
4) Language isn’t important
5) Minorities are only interested in certain careers and services. "

I think as a librarian it is important to treat each patron as an individual regardless of race, gender, or ethnic background.

I have an identical twin sister and many times people treat us exactly the same. We have different jobs, different tastes, and different interests. We want to be treated as individuals. We want people to learn about our differences. I think this applies to minorities as well. So in response to myths 1, 2 &5 I think that is important to treat each patron as an individual, not as a member of a particular group. As librarians we need to learn about our patrons, not simply stereotype and make judgements. Once you learn about your patron, then you can serve them appropriately, helping to make the best suggestions.

Different forms of media appeal to certain people. Some prefer print media. Some prefer radio/tv media. Again it is important to treat people as individuals.

Language is very important. I think we have all experienced a language barrier at one time. It is frustrating to try to get information from someone when you do not speak the same language. This is why it is important to recruit bi-lingual/multi-lingual librarians.


International Children's Digital Library

"Creators of online digital libraries have recognized the benefit of making their content available to users around the world, not only for the obvious benefits of broader dissemination of information and cultural awareness, but also as tools of empowerment and strengthening community" (Hutchinson et al, 4).

The International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) was developed by the University of Maryland. According the ICDL website, the project is supported by Library of Congress, NSF, IMLS, Kahle/Austin Foundation, Adobe Systems Inc., the Markle Foundation, and Octavo. The mission of the project is to make literature available digitally in many languages and genres for children ages 3-13 and for teachers, librarians, and parents. Currently the ICDL has 829 children's books available in 32 languages. This allows children to explore new ideas, experience different cultures and read books that may not be available in their local library.
The ICDL is unique in the fact that children are part of the selection and design committee. The children help select books and test usability of the website. The website uses graphics instead of the Dewey decimal system for children to select books.

For more information about the ICDL project check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

Hutchinson, Hilary, et al. "The International Children's Digital Library: A Case Study in Designing for a Multilingual, Multicultural, Multigenerational Audience." Information Technology and Libraries 24 (2005): 4-12.

Saturday, November 26, 2005 

Recruiting Minorities

Data from The ALA Office for Research and Statistics shows that about 90% of librarians are white. This is a problem because librarians do not represent the demographics of those they serve. In order to help recruit minorities in the field of librarianship ALA established Spectrum Scholarships in 1997. According to the ALA website, "Spectrum's major drive is to recruit applicants and award scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students." The scholarship awards $5000 scholarship for students to attend an ALA accredited MLS program or an ALA-recognized NCATE School Library Media program. This year they awarded 67 scholarships. At least 60 scholarships will be awarded for 2006.
Are you interested in applying??? Check out this website http://www.ala.org/ala/diversity/spectrum/spectrum.htm

If you are not eligible to receive a Spectrum scholarship, but want to help support this worthy cause you could purchase “Perspectives, Insights and Priorities: 17 Leaders Speak Freely of Librarianship,” edited by Norman Horrocks. The authors will donate their royalties to the Spectrum Scholarship Fund.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 

The New American Model

Fred Gitner and Younshin Kim, librarians from the Queens Borough Public Library, presented "Reaching Immigrant Populations: Serving the Culturally & Linguistically Diverse: The New Americans Program Model" at the Annual 2005 New York Library Association (NYLA) Meeting in Buffalo, NY.

I learned that the Queens Borough is the most ethnically diverse county in the United States. The Queens Library has developed the a variety of Citizenship and Immigrant services, including the New American Program to attract members of various ethnic groups to the library. This program "was established in 1977 to provide special services to the area’s many new immigrants. "

Also the library's website is available in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese and Korean. This is another service they provide to reach immigrant populations.

The library also does a variety of community out reach programs. They provide meeting space for special presentations for ethnic and cultural community groups. During these presentations a member of the library staff will start the presentation by informing the audience about the services of the library, how to apply for a library card with the emphasis that the card is free. Many are unaware that the card is free of cost and this has prevented them from using the library.

Check out their website http://www.queenslibrary.org/ and see all the services available. Can you incorporate some of these great ideas into your library? What can you do to attract those from various cultures and ethnic backgrounds into the library?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 

Going to NYLA?

Some presentations that may be of interest....

"Telling Tales: Celebrating Diversity"
- Thursday, October 27, 2005 4:30-5:45

"Yummy: The World of Food!"
- Thursday, October 27, 2005 4:30-5:45

"Reaching Immigrant Populations: Serving the Culturally & Linguistically Diverse: The New Americans Program Model"
- Friday, October 28, 2005 8:00-9:15

"Librarians' Toolkit for Serving Spanish Speakers"
- Friday, October 28, 2005 9:35-10:50

"World Poetry: Developing Library Collections and Programs"
- Friday, October 28, 2005 3:30-4:45

"Bilingual Storytelling"
- Saturday, October 29, 2005 8:00-9:15

Check out the whole schedule on www.nyla.org

Sunday, October 23, 2005 

How can libraries help new immigrants?

In 1906, Dr. James Canfield wrote "The Library in Relation to Special Classes of Readers: Books for the Foreign Population - I" in the The Library Journal. In this article he proposed the following:

  • that libraries make books available in multiple languages, and
  • the creation of a document for new immigrants informing them of their civic duties.

Well a quick search of my home town library system, The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, shows that they have books available in multiple languages.

Finally, (almost 100 years after Dr. Canfield made the proposal) US Citizenship and Immigration Services has created Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants.

The guide provides information to new immigrants about their rights and responsibilities of being a permanent resident of the United States. The guide is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Portuguese, French, and Haitian Creole. The guide directs new immigrants to go to their local public library for more information. Information about the services offered at the library is highlighted on page 2 of the guide.

The guide markets libraries to new immigrants. Now the question is....
What can we as librarians do to help new immigrants and others from various cultures?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 


This is a small list of literature and websites available from the late 1800's to present day about Multicultural Libraries.

Agosto, Denise. "Bridging the Culture Gap: Ten Steps toward a More Multicultural Youth Library." Journal of Youth Services in Libraries 14 (2001): 38-41.

Canfield, James. “The Library in Relation to Special Classes of Readers: Books for the Foreign Population - I.” The Library Journal 31:7 (1906): C65-C67.

Curtis, Florence. “Librarianship as a Field for Negroes.” Journal of Negro Education 4.1(1935):94-8.

Gleason, Eliza. “Facing the Dilemma of Public Library Service for Negroes.” The Library Quarterly 14 (1945): 339-44.

Gollop, Claudia. “Library and Information Science Educations: Preparing Librarians for a Multicultural Society.” College and Research Libraries 60(1999) 385-395.

Holmes, Anne, et al. “Multicultural Communities Guidelines for Library Services.” International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. 06 Feb. 2002. 03 Oct. 2005. http://www.ifla.org/VII/s32/pub/guide-e.htm.

International Children’s Digital Library. 31 May 2003. U of Maryland. 02 Oct. 2005. http://www.icdlbooks.org

“Office for Diversity.” American Library Association. 2005. 03 Oct. 2005.

Smith, June Smeck. “Library Service to American Indians”. Library Trends 20 (1971): 223- 238.

Wheeler, Maurice B, ed. Unfinished Business: Race, Equity, and Diversity in Library and Information Science Education. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2005.