I started planning this storytime yesterday, on November 9th, 2016. Like a lot of Americans and humans, I am having a hard time coming to terms with who my country is today and reconciling that with who I thought we were. This is the kind of thing that weighs heavy on a heart.
I have always believed that libraries are safe places. As a children’s librarian, I feel it’s my duty to show compassion and empathy to every child in everything I do, from how I talk to and connect with the kids in my library, to how I program, to how I plan displays. I emphasize every child, because it is particularly important to me to make sure I reach the groups too often overlooked- kids of color, kids with disabilities, kids who may be part of the LGBTQ spectrum and those who already know they are- every. single. child. will be safe and loved and respected in my library.
So as I planned this storytime, I felt the need to truly put this into action. Every week I make it a point to read books with diverse characters and families but I needed to do more. My heart needed this. I was close to tears most of the day yesterday especially as I pulled the books that I hoped would carry my words today.
Last Stop on Market Street
My Heart is Like a Zoo
The Peace Book
We sang what we usually sing and added Skinnamarink, The More We Get Together, and If You’re Happy and You Know It. My responsibility it not to drag these kids down but to lift them up. To help them understand they are loved, worthy, and strong. I left storytime this morning feeling hopeful in a way I haven’t felt the last few days, held up by their smiling faces and the beautiful stories they share with me and their adorable inability to pronounce “skinnamarink” but their enthusiasm to just keep trying.