There is no other way to begin this week's e-mail than to acknowledge the importance of the widespread demonstrations over the last week and to advocate for the positive role libraries can play when we are selecting materials. To quote an essay by collection development expert Robin Bradford back in 2017:
"Representation matters. Not just for the community being represented, although that is important. The ability to see yourself, your family, and your community on the shelves is powerful. But it’s also powerful for people outside of that community to experience life through someone else’s experience... If fiction is the gateway to humanity, libraries have the opportunity to affirm and advance the humanity of everyone to everybody."
I've often said that in our area, the library is sometimes the only game in town for book lovers, and that we have the opportunity to introduce readers to stories they might never have discovered without the library. What I have not said often enough is that making sure these stories reflect more than our own community's experiences is vital.
You can find my regular roundup of June and summer lists next week, but today I'll close with this statement from the American Library Association and Library Journal's roundup of Antiracist Reading and Viewing. Becky Spratford also has links to share, including these slides about incorporating principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion into our RA and collection development work.