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a bronze statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Image from Pixabay

Honoring the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. should be something we do year-round, and not just on a particular day or month.  But since it is MLK, Jr. Day today, it seems important to think about some things we can do that continue his important and unfinished work.  Here are a few things I have been thinking about, and I'm interested to hear about other thoughts!

  • Looking at our collections, displays, and books we use for programming to make sure they reflect the diversity of the world around us, including books by and about people of color.  Even if you work in a predominantly or overwhelmingly white community, this is crucial!  
  • Learning and listening!  There is SO much to learn!  One organization that, as a white person, I have found useful lately is Showing Up for Racial Justice.  Lots of great resources and tips and things to think about!
  • Discussing race.  Modeling talking about it in storytime.  Discussing it with co-workers. Talking about it with kids and teachers and community members.  Knowing we'll mess up sometimes and talking about it anyway. 
  • Thinking about economic inequality, and what we can do to make our libraries more welcoming and relevant to people who are poor and working class.
  • Thinking about the voices we invite to serve on our committees and leadership positions, the people we ask for advice and guidance on how we serve the community.  Does it reflect the socio-economic diversity of our communities?  And how do we change the opportunities we have to make them ones that truly welcome and include people from diverse backgrounds?  Do we offer childcare?  Transportation assistance?  How do we conduct our meetings to make them truly welcoming and allowing for different communication styles?  I feel like I have a lot to learn in this area.  I'd love to hear from folks who are doing it well.