It starts a conversation…

The COVID-19 pandemic has put libraries nationwide in uncharted territory. We miss our customers, we miss interacting with them, and we miss hosting programs that educate and inspire.

We've created this blog series, Stories from Before, chronicling the stories of customers who ♥ all the Library offers, be it Storytime or Summer Reading, Books By Mail, English Language Classes, and much more. We hope these uplifting stories can help us all get through these challenging times and think about a brighter future

In October 2018, the Library hosted a professional development workshop, Diversity in Children’s Literature, for local educators and early childhood literacy champions.

Led by children’s book author, illustrator, and Pura Belpre Award winner Maya Gonzalez, the workshop provided an in-depth look at her inclusive, nonwestern, nature-based framework of gender for kids. Among the many vital topics covered, Maya discussed pronouns and language use, developing critical awareness, creating curriculum, and LGBTQ+ statistics in the children’s book industry.

We asked the participants to weigh in on the workshop:

Nadia N., Center for Community Dialogue & Training

I find it odd that even though gender and inclusivity are very relevant topics in the current climate, education and training within it is hard to find. The library is a hub for the community. When they offer something like this, it starts a conversation. The things I learned, especially regarding gender inclusivity and language, are things I can practice and work on every day so I can help make the world more comfortable for everyone.

Mark F., Imago Dei Middle School

It’s important that the Library offers trainings like this. Understanding diversity is critical to being a leader, no matter one’s career. We can always learn more about others and build greater empathy for all.

Katherine J., Tucson Unified School District

This training was empowering for those of us who don’t fit into the heteronormative world. The biggest takeaway was the beautiful, continued message of respect and value of the individual and recognizing the power of language, especially gendered language, and the constraints it puts on all of us.

Natalia H., Make Way for Books

I wanted to learn more about supporting children and families with diverse gender identities. Children need access to books, resources, educators, and librarians who can affirm their identities in positive ways. I’m glad the Library offered it— I’ve been able to incorporate what I learned into our Family Education and Literacy Program.

They, She, He, Me

Call Me Tree = Llámame árbol

Mis colores, mi mundo

I know the river loves me