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I spent a lot of time this year looking critically at our collection. Analyzing. Scrutinizing. I have been in this library for 2 years now, and I have big plans.
I want a library collection reflecting the diversity of students in my school. Like most school librarians, I want students to read about kids like themselves, and about kids like their classmates, and to get so lost in a compelling story that they can’t stop reading. So we need books with diverse characters with diverse experiences, written by diverse authors, and we need a lot of them.
But the truth is, I don’t have that library yet.
The truth is, too many of my students don’t see themselves or their experiences reflected in the collection, so they don’t want to read it.
The truth is, too many of our books are only about white kids. Or if they have African American or Asian American or Hispanic characters, they are historical fiction. Or supporting characters. They don’t address modern-day problems or struggles or bias. Few of them address social justice.
The truth is, students deserve better.
My name is Julie Overpeck. An elementary school media specialist, mentor, presenter, middle grade book reviewer, and queen of the #libraryhack, I am a Texas girl in North Carolina with 18 years in education and 14 years of public school library experience.