Attanya: #WeNeedDiverseBooks because I love science fiction and fantasy books, but I’m tired of authors treating dragons and robots and magic as more plausible than black and brown characters
Jennifer: #WeNeedDiverseBooks because… when I was 13 a white girl told me it was selfishthat all of the protagonists in my stories were Latina because she “just can’t relate to nonwhite characters.” She made me feel guilty for writing about people like me.
Aiesha: #WeNeedDiverseBooks because…Black Girls are more than sidekicks or “sassy, ghetto friend”
Facts and Figures About Race/Ethnicity in YA and Children’s Lit:
- 88% of the books on the 2013 Publisher’s Weekly YA Bestsellers were about white protagonists
- 93% of the authors on the 2013 Publisher’s Weekly YA Bestsellers were white authors
- 85% of the books on the 2014 Young Adult Library Services Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults list were about white protagonists
- 90% of the authors on the 2014 Young Adult Library Services Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults list were white authors
- 91% of the authors on the 2013 New York Times’s Bestseller Lists for YA and Children’s Lit were white authors.
- According to the 2012 Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 3.3% of books were about African-American protagonists; only 2.1% were about Asian and Pacific Islander protagonists; only 1.5% were about Latinx protagonists; and only 0.6% were about Native American protagonists. That means over 90% of children’s books surveyed were about white protagonists.
Everyone’s got their special trick for keeping an avocado from turning brown. Some people keep the pit intact. Others rub it with lemon juice. Some cover the avocado halves with plastic wrap. Chefs immerse them in cold water. But do any of these methods actually work? We had to know — once and for all.
For me, the path to a relevant, 21st-century library lies beyond digitization (our collections are moving closer and closer to open access, so digitization is paramount for their preservation and dissemination) in creating “serendipitous discovery.”
If we’re able to offer a tool – a visual display, a 3D printer, a gesture-based interface, an Oculus Rift for visualization simulation, a Makey Makey for inventing new links to monitors and other devices – that tips off a researcher’s interest and causes him or her to run back to an office or study carrel or computer and say “Eureka!” then we’re making a strong argument for the library as a place.
What’s more, if we’re able to train our librarians to make research easier in an increasingly data-driven environment, we’re making a good case for our services.
Photos by Kilian Schönberger
this is some straight up fairy tale shit right here.
The first people a dictator puts in jail after a coup are the writers, the teachers, the librarians — because these people are dangerous. They have enough vocabulary to recognize injustice and to speak out loudly about it. Let us have the courage to go on being dangerous people.