Libraries celebrate diversity, promote multicultural literacy
For Immediate Release
Communications and Marketing Office
ALA Media Relations
Join Día! Diversity in Action on April 30 En Español
CHICAGO – Our nation’s libraries are committed to providing multilingual and multicultural resources and materials that meet the needs of a diverse population. On Thursday, April 30, families, children and communities will celebrate our country’s rich cultural heritage during Día! Diversity in Action. Hundreds of public and school libraries will host multicultural celebrations, including family programs, bilingual story hours, book giveaways and other literacy events for children and their families.
Día! Diversity in Action, also known as El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), is a celebration every day of children and families and reading that culminates annually on April 30. Día! Diversity in Action is an opportunity for libraries around the country to connect children and families to multicultural books, bilingual services, 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.
Even though the diversity of our country continues to grow, the percentage of children’s books released each year either by a person of color or with a multicultural theme has remained virtually unchanged for nearly 20 years. Experts say a 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. Literacy depends on children’s desire to read. It is critical to provide access to and awareness of books that mirror their culture and language.
“Libraries and librarians play an important role in family literacy and multicultural awareness,” said Association for Library Service to Children President Ellen Riordan. “Día! Diversity in Action shows how recognizing and respecting culture, heritage and language can be powerful tools for strengthening families and communities.”
Parents, caregivers and teachers can also celebrate Día! Diversity in Action at home or in their classrooms with free bilingual book lists and activities at http://dia.ala.org .
Día! Diversity in Action 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).
For book lists and additional information on Día! Diversity in Action please visit http://dia.ala.org . For information on local events contact your local library, or visit http://cs.ala.org/websurvey/alsc/dia/map.cfm .
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
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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.