Social Impact

Tips on starting a conversation with your school librarian

Illustrated stacks of coloured books with speech bubbles 'speaking' to each other

Does your school have a library? If so, this could be a great place to help connect students with books by writers of colour. 

Consider the list of questions below to get a conversation going between yourself and your school librarian.

Remember this is a conversation. Go in with an open mind, a notebook and loads of enthusiasm!

Keep it positive

Librarians can be your ally in helping to diversify the books in your school.

Many of them will already be thinking about this and doing great work - ask how you can help them.

Share the results of the research

Even though our Lit in Colour research focuses mainly on English lessons, it also highlights the importance of the school library. 

Use this as a starting point to have a conversation with your librarian - do they know how many books by writers of colour are in your school library? How could you work together to make sure the library collection is representative and diverse? 

Suggest to your librarian any particular books written by authors of colour that you would love to see in the library.

Could students get more involved in choosing which books are in the library?

  • Ask how your librarian chooses titles to order for the library.
  • Ask how students can get involved in the process, so they can make suggestions too.
4 book covers on a purple background: The Extraordinary Life of Serena Williams, Tall Story, Girl Woman Other and Run Rebel

Discover books by writers of colour

Could you hold a focus group to get more students engaged in reading?

  • Come prepared with a few examples of books that you think other students will enjoy, but aren't currently in your library.
  • Could your librarian host a focus group/ open session where you could share some of these ideas, and open the conversation up to other students?

Get creative and innovate

  • Get creative and think of new ideas which could introduce books by writers of colour to more students. 
  • This could include creating a new visual display in the library or elsewhere in your school which centres work by a writer of colour.
  • Could you set up a book club, maybe focused on a topic or theme which interests you or your students?
  • Remember to think about intersectionality - what about LGBTQ+ voices, or books from writers with a disability?
  • Representation shouldn't just be confined to key momets on the calendar like Black History Month - what other opportunities are there throughout the year?

Image: Taaryn Brench for Penguin

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