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Library Audit and Summer Professional Development

For the past two years, our K-12 Librarians have been engaged in the work of doing a “Diversity Audit” of their collections. The librarians began their work during the 2017-18 school year, working with Dr. Tokeya Graham, an English/Philosophy professor at MCC who specializes in diversity. As they began to develop a sense of how to assess their own collections, they also drew upon the expertise of Cheryl Kreutter, an education professor at SUNY Geneseo who specializes in children’s literature. Collaboratively, the librarians developed a spreadsheet and a process of reviewing each title in their library for multiple characteristics related to diversity including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, culture, religion, neurodiversity, and gender identity of the author, main characters, and supporting characters in the book, as well as looking at the theme and setting of the book. This is a labor-intensive process that involves the librarian literally taking each book off the shelf, reviewing it for each of the identified characteristics, and then adding the data for each title to their shared spreadsheet.

While the audit itself is still in process, many benefits have already emerged from this process. Our librarians are more aware of titles within their collections that represent both shared and unique experiences of our students and staff members. As classroom teachers seek to expose students to more diverse titles and authors, our Librarians are able to guide that process by selecting and showcasing particular titles. In several schools, the librarians have created displays of books representing a wide swath of diversity, enticing students to find books that can serve as mirrors or windows into their own, or someone else’s experiences. As librarians go through their annual process of culling and adding to their collections, they are able to do so with a more deliberate focus on maintaining a collection in which all children are able to see themselves. By documenting their audit in a shared spreadsheet, the librarians are able to see the collections across all nine buildings, allowing them to serve as resources for each other and the students throughout our district.

Summer 2019 Professional Learning Offerings
Under the large umbrella of inclusivity, we will be offering our staff the opportunity to deepen their learning and expand their skill sets relative to several areas. Our line-up of summer workshops in this area will include the following:
  • Restorative Practices – PiRI (Partners in Restorative Initiatives
  • Warning Signs of Anxiety – Dr. James Wallace
  • Strategies to Address Anxiety in the Classroom – Dr. Melissa Heatly
  • Building Resilience – Dr. Patricia Vaughan-Brogan
  • Hidden Biases – Julie Barker
  • Advancing Racial Justice – Shelly Clements
  • Safe & Inclusive Schools – Out Alliance
  • Safe Zone Training – Out Alliance
  • Let’s Talk about Hate – Kit Miller, Gandhi Institute
  • Topic TBD – Adrian Hale
  • Contemporary Antisemitism – Echoes & Reflections
  • Ways to Create a More Inclusive Classroom for English Language Learners – Kaylie Northrup, Nina Talamo
  • Using Diverse Literature – Toni Baller, Kaylie Northrup
  • English Language Learners with IEPs – Laura Shemancik, Kaylie Northrup