Nation’s libraries showcase multicultural resources as uptick in demand for multicultural children’s books continues
For Immediate Release
Manager Media Relations
American Library Association
El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) April 30
CHICAGO — Our nation is becoming more diverse, and libraries are working to step up to the challenge of providing multilingual and multicultural resources. Demographers predict that by the year 2050, African Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, Latino/Hispanics and Native Americans will constitute the majority of Americans.
On April 30, families and children will celebrate El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), in public and school libraries. Also known as Día! Diversity in Action, this initiative will provide an opportunity for hundreds of libraries to showcase services that celebrate our nation’s rich cultural tapestry.
Libraries continue their commitment to connecting children and their families to multicultural books, bilingual services and educational resources and support the need for children and families to have access to materials that mirror their culture, as well as provide a window to others.
However published children’s books have yet to mirror our country’s changing demographics. According to a white paper by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), every year since 1994, statistics gathered by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison shows that just over 8 percent of children’s books published in the United States represented non whites. The most current data from CCBC shows that out of the more than 5,000 titles published in 2013 only 253 were about non whites. This lack of diversity in children’s books can be harmful to the social and identity development of children, particularly those representing cultures with untold stories.
“Librarians value the diversity of our world and Día is an occasion to celebrate our children’s diversity,” said Association for Library Service President Starr LaTronica. “When children never see themselves represented in library collections, or literacy programs, many are left to think that their culture is not important enough to be featured in the library. Too often cultural invisibility has left children to second guess their value in our society. Día provides an opportunity for us to combat cultural misconceptions and celebrate our differences.”
Parents, caregivers and teachers also can celebrate Día at home or in their classrooms with free bilingual book lists and activities from the Día website at http://dia.ala.org. Resources are available in Chinese and Spanish.
Día is sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, and is an enhancement of Children’s Day, which began in 1925. Children’s Day was designated as a day to bring attention to the importance and well-being of children. In 1996, nationally acclaimed children’s book author Pat Mora proposed linking the celebration of childhood and children with literacy thus the inception of El día de los niños/El día de los libros.
Through a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) continues to increase public awareness of the event in libraries throughout the country. ALSC is collaborating on this effort with Día’s Founder, Pat Mora; and Founding Partner of Día, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking (REFORMA).
About The Association for Library Service to Children
ALSC, a division of ALA, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit their website at www.ala.org/alsc.
About Dollar General
Dollar General Corporation has been delivering value to shoppers for nearly 75 years. Dollar General helps shoppers Save time. Save money. Every day!® by offering products that are frequently used and replenished, such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items at low everyday prices in convenient neighborhood locations. With more than 11,000 stores in 40 states, Dollar General has more retail locations than any retailer in America. In addition to high quality private brands, Dollar General sells products from America's most-trusted manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, Unilever, Kellogg's, General Mills, Nabisco, Hanes, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola. Learn more about Dollar General at www.dollargeneral.com.
Established in 1971 as an affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), REFORMA has actively sought to promote the development of library collections to include Spanish-language and Latino oriented materials; the recruitment of more bilingual and bicultural library professionals and support staff; the development of library services and programs that meet the needs of the Latino community; the establishment of a national information and support network among individuals who share our goals; the education of the U.S. Latino population in regards to the availability and types of library services; and lobbying efforts to preserve existing library resource centers serving the interests of Latinos.