Centering Community, Building Equity: A Social Justice Approach to Outreach with Families and Children in Underserved Communities

Tuesday, 5/17/2022
  • 12:00 PM-1:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 11:00 AM-12:00 PM (Central)
  • 10:00 AM-11:00 AM (Mountain)
  • 9:00 AM-10:00 AM (Pacific)

Are you seeking to develop relevant and meaningful programs and services for young children and families in underserved communities? Offering outreach programs and services that meet these young children and their families where they live and thrive is crucial for overcoming some of the many barriers these families can face with coming to the library. Centering the community’s values and strengthening equity, engagement, and empowerment in these efforts can help you develop relevant, authentic programs and services that meet these families’ needs and aspirations.

In this webinar, the Project VOICE team will provide an overview of the importance of outreach efforts to underserved communities; how to intentionally integrate the social justice concepts of equity, engagement, and empowerment into these efforts; and the role of community values in developing authentic outreach services for young children and families. The webinar will conclude with an introduction by the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee to their Toolkit series, which provides resources for working with different underserved groups.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • learn more about the social justice concepts of equity, engagement, and empowerment and how to be more intentional with these concepts in their outreach efforts.
  • understand the role of community values, and how to identify them, when working to develop authentic services for young children and families.
  • become familiar with the toolkit series and resources offered by the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee. 

ALSC Competencies

  • Cultivates an environment for enjoyable and convenient use of library resources, specifically removing barriers to access presented by socioeconomic circumstances, race, culture, privilege, language, gender, ability, religion, immigration status, and commercialism, and other diversities. (1.7)
  • Models customer service with children, families, and their caregivers that is culturally respectful and developmentally appropriate, and works to overcome systems of oppression, discrimination, exclusion, and ethnocentrism. (2.5)
  • Designs, promotes, presents, and evaluates a variety of diverse programs for children, with consideration of equity, diversity, and inclusion; principles of child development; and the needs, interests, and goals of all children, their caregivers, and educators in the community. (3.1)
  • Establishes programs and services for caregivers, childcare providers, educators, and other community professionals who work with children, families, and caregivers. (3.8)
  • Delivers programs outside or inside the library, as well as digitally, to meet users where they are, addressing community and educational needs, including those of unserved and underserved populations. (3.9)

Who Should Attend

All library staff serving children and their caregivers. 


Kathleen Campana, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at Kent State University’s School of Information. Her research focuses on understanding the learning that occurs for children and families in informal and digital learning environments and how those environments support and impact the learning process. She is the Principal Investigator for Project VOICE (funded by IMLS), Read Baby Read (funded by the William Penn Foundation), and Project SHIELD (funded by IMLS). Her work has been published in Library Quarterly, Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, Information and Learning Sciences, and Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, among others. She has presented at numerous academic and practitioner conferences and has taught online MLIS courses for several years.

J. Elizabeth Mills, PhD, is a research consultant. Her research explores the nature and role of reflection in the ways public librarians plan, deliver, and assess storytimes for young children. With Dr. Katie Campana, Elizabeth has conducted several research studies, including librarians’ use of new media with young children and the role of social justice, value-centric outcomes in public libraries’ outreach efforts with families and young children. She has extensive experience presenting at both academic and professional conferences and workshops, as well as offering research-based training to practitioners. Additionally, she has taught and developed materials for synchronous and asynchronous online courses for masters of library and information science students. Elizabeth is co-author and co-editor of Supercharged Storytimes: An Early Literacy Planning and Assessment Guide and Create, Innovate, and Serve: A Radical Approach to Children's and Youth Programming.

Jacqueline “Jacquie” Kociubuk, MLIS/MEd, is currently a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Information. Her research is centered around children's informal learning environments, playful learning, public library outreach, and social justice. Jacquie earned her MLIS/MEd from Kent State University and has worked throughout Ohio as a Youth Services Librarian and PreK-12 Educator. In addition to her previous work as an educator in the public service field, she has presented at a variety of practitioner focused conferences both in-person and virtually.

Michelle H. Martin, PhD, is the Beverly Cleary Endowed Professor in Children and Youth Services in the Information School at the University of Washington, a position she has held since September 2016. From 2011 - June 2016 she was the inaugural Augusta Baker Endowed Chair in Childhood Literacy at the University of South Carolina, where she taught MLIS and Education students. Prior to this position at USC, she taught for 12 years in the English Department at Clemson University, where she taught English and Education students. She has been teaching online since 2012 and currently half of her teaching for UW is online.

Additionally, members of the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee, will present on current ALSC toolkits available as resources. 



ALSC is offering this webinar free-of-charge as part of IMLS grant funding associated with the project. 

How to Register

Please visit the webinar page on the ALA Continuing Education site to register; the webinar will be presented via Zoom. 

Tech Requirements

Computer & Internet Access


Sarah Polen
Program Officer, Continuing Education
312-280-4026 | email