by Katelyn Patterson
Summer Reading Program Updates
CTLS will be offering a combination Summer Reading Program workshop and Youthshare at several locations around the state. We are currently working out dates and locations and will be sharing those soon.
The Texas State Library and Archives will be providing a webinar on the Teen Manual on January 5th. You can learn more about that here.
I will highlight an activity from this year’s manual here every month. Keep an eye out for our announcement of dates and locations for our face-to-face workshop to help get you prepared for your best summer yet!
Haul Out the Holly?
I know what you are thinking. No Santa visit? No special storytime? No Christmas tree in the lobby? No fun Christmas craft? Yes, that is exactly what I am suggesting.
To state why very succinctly, these kinds of programs exclude individuals, specifically those whose religion doesn’t celebrate the day or those who practice no religion at all. And despite the argument that Christmas has become largely secular, this belief varies greatly from individual to individual.
Perhaps no one in your community has made a complaint about this before. Consider that no one has complained because they don’t bother coming to programs in December because they expect to be excluded. Perhaps you don’t know anyone in your community that might be offended by these symbols. Though we strive to know our communities, there is no possible way we can know everyone and their preferences. Perhaps you want to reflect what the majority of your patrons want. While it is most likely safe to assume that only a handful of individuals in your community might be excluded from a special Christmas program, we have always been in the business of fighting for inclusivity for everyone. Simply revisiting ALA’s Library Bill of Rights reminds us of this. In fact, for every plan/program/decision that gets made at your library all year round, take a moment to ask yourself and others on staff, “How could someone be excluded by this choice?”
There are ample opportunities for our patrons to revel in the joys of the holidays. Some radio stations play nothing but Christmas carols. Decorations are at every turn. Special holiday events are happening every day during December in our communities. I know because my calendar is full!
Instead, consider focusing on the broader themes of the season. Decorate with snowflakes or have an adult coloring program with these beautiful snowflake coloring pages from Dover. Offer cookies, hot cocoa, and cider. Or have a program on making upcycled gift wrap, cards, and gifts.
Consider making the library a welcoming place for everyone during the holidays. For some, the public library might be the only place they can go to be free of the festivities.
- Religion in American Libraries: Questions and Answers- American Library Association, http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/meetingrooms/religion-q-a.
- Jumping Off the Holiday Ban-Wagon- Jbrary, https://jbrary.com/jumping-off-holiday-ban-wagon/
- Ditch Holiday Programming- School Library Journal, http://www.slj.com/2014/11/diversity/ditch-holiday-programming-opinion/
- The Decorations Debate- Library Journal, http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2003/03/ljarchives/how-do-you-manage-case-study-the-decorations-debate/#_
- Undecking The Halls: Why Christmas Decorations Do Not Belong in Public Library Spaces by Tonya Lewis- Australian Library and Information Association, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzvtZcNoNCXLbDlSc3UwVXBuRjg/view
- Book placement of LGBT themes at issue at metro libraries in Oklahoma City
- The Young Adult Keller (YAK) Book Festival coming up on January 28th!
- School Library Journal’s 2016 Controversial Books Survey, which addresses self-censorship among school librarians, results can be found here.
- Browse This! Great Magazines for Kids and Teens
- 2016 National Book Awards for Young People Literature in Photos
- The City of Waco is hiring a full time children’s librarian.
- The Youth Media Awards will be announced at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting on Monday, January 23rd!