Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hearing Joe Fox from the Indianapolis Public Library system speak (very briefly) about his job. At some point the topic of summer reading came up, and Joe surprised me by saying that they were NOT participating in the STEAM oriented, summer reading program this year.
With the greater push for incorporating Science into libraries and literacies practices, it seems strange that a library would shy away from this, especially a library system that according to the 2010 census reaches 903,393 people. Joe explained though, that for the past few years they’ve taken the science route and that this year they wanted to change this up to reflect their new mission statement, which is to highlight the diversity in their community. So, this year the summer reading program theme is “Read Around the World”.
While they are still in the early planning stages, Joe talked about how programs will focus on teaching kids about the different cultures and communities from around the world that populate Marion County.
I think that this is just the bees knees. Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about educating people,especially kids about the world and people around them. This past semester I created a book list for the Monroe County Public Library to highlight the diversity of our community. It’s titled “One Town, Many Cultures” .
One thing I do want to say about the list I created is that it is wrongly labeled as multicultural. This list is not multicultural, it is diverse. While the books do not have stereotypical depictions or messages, not all the authors or illustrators identify as or have experiences as members of the culture they are writing about. Some of the books are, but not all.
I’m hoping to reach out to Joe today and see if I can come and see a few programs and even share my booklist. So when I do get out there, I’ll let you all know!
Follow Joe’s branch on Twitter at @waynebranch