#WeNeedDiverseBooks formed in direct response to the all white male panel selected to be the voice of kidlit at BookCon. The movement happened because so many people are so tired of the lack of books that feature characters of diverse ethnicity, sexual preference or religion. This issue is simply the tip of the iceberg and as such, will have no simple solution. What I’m saying is, it ain’t over.

As readers/consumers we have to remain vigilant. Watch the lists and articles to be sure they are truly diverse and if not, call them on it! Request books at your local library and book store by authors of color. There are plenty of suggestions on what we as readers can do but the real work lies with publishers. Not only do books need to be published by authors of color, by Native Americans, authors who are LGBTQ or with different abilities but these works need to have the same support mechanisms as other authors: they need to be promoted and rigorously edited. Except that the models publishers continue to follow only promote top performing authors regardless of their color. How do you get to the top if you’re never given the resources and support to get there?

Maybe you make a shift.

When we look at what readers can do, we’re simply circling the tip iceberg. We need to be there, circling or no one else will see the danger. But circling doesn’t diminish the iceberg.

Lyn Miller Lachmann writes

Book people need to join with other civil rights activists and at the same time make clear that diversity in children’s books is a civil rights issue as much as diversity in film, television — and political participation. The various struggles to establish and defend Mexican-American Studies programs in Arizona and Texas can serve as models of a successful alliance between the book world and the civil rights world. When the State of Arizona banned the program, the resistance demonstrated that books matter, that stories, language, and the written word are important aspects of one’s culture and identity.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to introduce you to few players who are recreating the game for the sake of our children. That’s what we have to remember, this is for our children.


This weekend ALA President Barbara Stripling sent out an email announcing a joint statement that the BCALA and the ALA cooaboratively developed and was then endorsed by the other ethnic affiliates, AILA, APALA, CALA and REFORMA. Stripling will be appointing a Special Presidential Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to develop strategic atction ideas.

In response to BCALA’s concern regarding holding the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, in 2016, the ALA Executive Board thoroughly explored the options for moving the conference. ALA started by clarifying the facts underlying conference site selection, the implications of trying to move the Orlando conference, and the prevalence of Stand Your Ground laws across the United States. The contracts for Orlando were negotiated originally in 2000; the Stand Your Ground law in Florida became effective on October 1, 2005. Cancelling the hotel and convention center contracts would result in a minimum fine of $814,000. Conferences as large as ALA must be scheduled for specific sites and contracts signed at least 7–10 years in advance. At this late date, it would be highly unlikely that ALA would be able to find another site with availability during our window of late June/early July 2016.

Most troubling is the growing prevalence of Stand Your Ground laws. Twenty-two states have laws that allow for that self-defense provision to be asserted (as of August 2013). An additional 21 states have enacted laws that allow for self-defense within one’s home (called Castle Doctrines). However, each state has implemented and applied the Stand Your Ground laws differently, and it is the interpretation and application of the Stand Your Ground Law in the Zimmerman and Dunn cases, as well as the Marissa Alexander case, that has heightened the urgency for discussion and action.

With that information in hand, our ALA’s Executive Committee and BCALA’s Executive Board decided that the best way to respond to the Florida situation is by turning it into an opportunity to educate, build awareness, and advocate for equitable treatment, inclusion, and respect for diversity.

Congratulations to Nahoko Uehashi (Japan) on winning the 2014 Hans Christian Anderson Author award.

EH_140325_MoribitoAccording to the IBBY jury chaired by María Jesús Gil of Spain, “Uehashi tells stories that are replete with imagination, culture and the beauty of a sophisticated process and form. Her literary subjects are based on ancient Japanese mythology and science-fiction fantasy that are deeply rooted in human reality.”

Congratulations to Roger Mello (Brazil) for winning the 2014 Hans Christian Anderson Illustrator award.

thAn illustrator, writer and playwright, Roger Mello has illustrated more than one hundred titles, having also provided the text for twenty of them. He works as an illustrator for five different publishing houses and he is also the author of several theatre plays.


The awards were announced at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy. This event first began in 1963 and has become a premier event for children’s publishers around the world. A few trends seemed to develop at the Book Fair this year. There was a growing number of Chinese picture books that originating in China, indicating that imported books to the country will no longer dominate the market. The L.A. Times reports that this year’s Fair had strong interests in middle grade fiction in general and in contemporary realism for YAs.

Marvel Comics announced a female Muslim superhero in November and School Library Journal (SLJ) postedad_119746744 a very informative interview with the creator of the character. While Ms. Marvel is the first American Muslim female character to have her own series, she’s not the first Muslim super hero.

  • Sim Baz, Lebanese American who took over for the Green Lantern “In his debut issue, Baz, who is Lebanese, is watching the events of 9/11 unfold on his TV as a 10-year-old, and dealing with the aftermath that Muslims faced in America. And his first major obstacle isn’t a conventional super-villain, but “a federal agent who deems him a terrorist.” (Marvel)
  • Dust, a young Afghan woman whose mutant ability to manipulate sand and dust has been part of the popular X-Men books. (Marvel)
  • Nightrunner, a young Muslim hero of Algerian descent, is part of the global network of crime fighters set up by Batman alter ego Bruce Wayne. (DC Comics)
  • The 99 created by Naif Al-Mutawa, developed a 6 issue crossover with DC Comics in 2010.
  • Dust, aka Sooraya Qadir, is an Afghanistan-born Sunni Muslim who, when kidnapped by slave traders, uses her mutant power to turn herself into a sand-like substance to flay them alive. (Marvel)

I’m not much into Comics, never read much beyond Richie Rich and Archie. In fact, I wouldn’t have realized Stan Lee’s pattern of same first letter for first and last name if it wasn’t for Raj on Big Bang Theory (video). I was pleasantly surprised to find out how diverse comics are.

I think if I could have super human abilities, I’d be able to speak, read and understand all languages. Or maybe never gain excessive weight no matter what I eat. What about you?

I have a busy week coming up with visitors to the library from Thailand, high schoolers coming to learn about scholarly research and the beginning of the garden season. Wishing you all the super abilities you need to shine this week!




I know I’ve waited too long to write a blog post when all the tabs with sites I was saving to reference are closed. I took spring break this year, a chance to catch up on a few things as the season is suppose to be changing to the warmer, longer days of spring. The week began with much discussion about Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In. I think women tried to find reason not to connect with Sandberg’s message. For me, it’s been the tiny amount of time I’ve spent in corporate America and the fact that I make every effort to remove myself from leadership and career advancement as possible. I’m an introvert and I prefer to fly off radar.

But, Sandberg’s message was persistent from news shows to talk shows and I kept listening: Lean in, be part of the conversation. I thought about my career as a librarian and the perception of librarians as quiet little women. I’ve worked as a Media Director/Head Librarian in an administrative position where I was not considered part of the administrative team. In academia librarians are sometimes tenured faculty, sometimes not. Even when employed as tenured faculty, there is a separate work calendar for librarians. We’re still marked the first Asian, first Native American… librarians in libraries across the country. That people of color are entering the profession is an important thing, but still counting firsts?

 People like Kirsten Weaver, Wei Cen

Jennifer Himmelreich

Jennifer Himmelreich

and Ana Elisa De Campos Salles (all 2013 ALA Emerging Leaders) are quiet beyond the image too many have of people who work in libraries. They definitely are people who are leaning into discussions about patron driven acquisition of books, open access of information, expanding digital content, freedom of information and what new platforms to incorporate into the library’s collection.  

Next Saturday, I’ll be in Lafayette, Indiana (home of Purdue University) for the Indiana Network of Black Librarian’s spring meeting. While there, we’ll hear from  Clyde Hughes, a freelance journalist with the Lafayette Journal & Courier who will share his insights regarding research, black history, and diversity.  Research remains core to what I do and it will be interesting to hear how other professions address this activity.

I’ve been watching people since Sandberg’s discussion began. It’s one thing to show up at the table, but yet another to lean into the conversation. Leaning in takes courage. I would love to say ‘I’m too old for this’ but aging gives one all the tools necessary to be courageous; not only to make a move, but to know when it is the right move to make. Women couldn’t always afford to consider such an option.

I’ve just noticed that Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo have resurrected the Diversity in YA blog, this time on Tumblr. I noted Tumblr because Google Reader is about to fade away and this means finding a new aggregator for my rss feads. I’m looking at Feedly, but also reframing (I like that word, ‘reframing’) the problem to consider how to follow blogs, if not whether it should even be about blogs. I’ve avoided Google+, but I’m going to explore both it and Tubmlr and decide what I want choices I’ll make.

I’m back to work tomorrow and I’ll jump right into the thick of things! I’m meeting to finalize plans for a program to present materials from the ALA/NEH Muslim Journey Bookshelf to the university community and then to take part in my library’s conversations as we re-invent ourselves. I suppose you could say we’re emerging; We’re reframing; We’re leaning in. I guess we all have to realize at some point that if we want to remain relevant, we can’t just go with the flow; we have to make the opportunity to lean in


“Live where you fear to live. Be notorious.”


Good afternoon!

My Colts aren’t doing too well right now, so it’s a pretty good time to write this post.

2012 is winding down, isn’t it? For me, it’s been quite a full year with a move, a new job and opportunities that have grown from that. Small town life is much quieter. Fewer things going on and less to do yet as a nation, we’ve had a rather loud and violent year.

My word for 2012 was ‘tender’. I will struggle with that one for a while but I’m glad I chose a word, a concept, rather than a resolution. I’ll be choosing another word for 2013. I’ll paint it on one of my polished rocks and I’ll see where that word takes me next year.

Words are powerful and even more so when combined to become stories that connect us and become part of us. I use words to grow on and want that same opportunity for everyone. Growth comes from diversity, too, don’t you think? So, I wonder why we’re seeing so few books by authors of color this year? With so many students not reading, not wanting to read, how can publishers limit the diversity of what is available? We all choose to read when we’re able to find books we want to read!

2013 will still find me fighting the good fight!

I don’t know that I’ll be doing as much on my blog next year, though. I’ve been selected to be on the Best Fiction for Young Adults selection committee and in addition to doing a heckofalot of reading, I’ll be working with my committee to list books each month that hopefully will help librarians and educators find the best books possible for YA readers. As a member of this committee, I will not be blogging reviews of any books that are eligible for this distinction and that includes any YA fiction published from Oct 2012-Dec 2013. I will continue to announce book released by authors of color, publish summaries, have Male Monday and Trailer Saturday features and a few other miscellaneous posts as well. And, I may from time to time post reviews of non-fiction books or books that are not released during the time under consideration. I may also occasionally post about the BFYA committee work. We will meet at ALA in Chicago and at Midwinter 2014 in Boston and this is one selection committee that members of the public are welcomed to attend so I hope to see you there!

I’ll be busy with conferences, too! I’ll be presenting at the McConnell Conference in Kentucky with Ashley Hope Perez and at the National Council of African-American Librarians Conference in Cincinnati with Zetta Elliott and David Miller. I’ve got children to visit in Georgia, California and New Mexico and I hope to make it to see each one of them.

I don’t know what my word will be for 2013. I don’t know if it will keep me Focused? Searching? Centered? Laughing? Speaking out? I hope I know it when it presents itself!

What are you planning for 2013?


Welcome, November 2012, officially proclaimed Native American Heritage Month. November also means ALAN!!! VEGAS!!! I can’t wait! My clock fell behind this morning and once again, I wonder who came up with this nonsense and why!

Regardless, I will vote this Tuesday!

The call for proposals for presentations at the 8th annual BCALA conference has been extended to 19 November.

PaperTigers continues to celebrate its 10th year with themed booklists. One of my recent favs is Rukhsana Khan’s list of religious themed books.  They’ve even added a Facebook page to continue the celebration there!

Right now, I’m multitasking because I’m  watching “Black Girls Rock” on BET while I write this post. The show began by honoring Kerry Washington and most recently honored Yasmine Arrington, a college student who began a scholarship fund for young women like her whose father’s are incarcerated

Looking for a real life motivator? How about the University of Illinois conference for Women of Color in the Academy to be held this April.

Looks like more storms are heading to the east coast. Be prepared, be safe. And, let’s take care on one another!




I woke this morning to news of an earthquake in Canada and an impending tsunami in Hawaii. Thankfully, Hawaii prepared for the worst but damage seems to have been minimal. Let’s wish the same results for the east coast. Here in the middle fall comes and goes. Two days in the 80s this week spoiled me and I, who enjoy the cold, found it difficult to pull out the sweaters once again.

It’s easy to say not much happens in this little ol’ town. I recently joked with someone that the Sundance Award winner “Middle of Nowhere” wouldn’t show here in the middle of nowhere, and it still hasn’t!

This city doesn’t compare to Indy (and that doesn’t compare to Chicago, Atlanta or New York!) but, there are events! Yesterday, I attended the annual India Night and was entertained by Bollywood style dancing, singing and a fashion show. While India definitely was the theme of the evening, it felt more like a global night (the original name of the evening) as people from Pakistan, African, China, Egypt, Algeria, Croatia, the Caribbean and other parts of the world sat in the audience, joined in the dancing and enjoy the festivities. I had a couple of photos to post but WordPress and/or my crappy IP is acting up and won’t let me do it. Sorry!

It amazes me how much occurs in the library! Last week, there were signs of Old England and this week it will be Cinco de Maya. These day long events occur in spaces inside and outside the library. As technology transforms how we locate, access and retrieve information, it is also redefining how we use library space. I recently attended a webinar on makerspaces and found it interesting how public libraries are providing resources for community members to creatively use information to create new products. A recent post on the YALSA blog looks into makerspaces.

Librarian in Black has spent much of last week looking at the use of library space. My library has been creating collaborative workspaces for students. What more can you imagine?

Cynsations  recently linked to an interview with Cassandra Clare on the Racebending blog. Clare discusses diversity in her written work and her efforts to maintain that integrity as the works transform to film.

I’ve been picking up and putting down several books and even that is a real improvement over the little reading I’ve been doing over the past few months. I’m currently reading Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick and  enjoy how she’s developed the narrative voice. Never Fall Down is a May release that is gaining a bit of attention.

I’ve been looking at the numbers and will not be surprised if we see a real drop in the number of children’s books written by authors of color this year. As I post the releases each month, I’m continually disappointed in the numbers. And, there are so few new authors of color this year! Scoot on over to the BrownBookShelf blog and nominate a black author for this February’s 28 Days Later! Last day to nominate is 2 November.

I hope you have something good to read and a safe, warm place to read it this week!


I’ve been on the road a lot lately. Two weeks ago, I drove to Shakamak State Park near Jasonville, IN with a friend

Celebration of the Future. PowWow sponsored by The Sullivan County American Indian Council

to visit a PowWow. It was my first and I don’t think it will be my last.

Last Sunday, I was in Kansas City, MO for the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color. Though a bit too spread out for my tastes, the facilities included easy access to a wide variety of places for dining and shopping. I attended sessions on tribal libraries in AZ, GLBT books for children, how to prepare others for change and a few others. I met new publishers and entrepreneurs who use locally produced jewelry to support artists and literacy at the same time. I also network with library friends old and new. Yes, it was a very good conference!

Yesterday I was home in Indianapolis to visit a friend battling an illness. I thought I was ready for a weekend at home, cocooning in my introvertedness but after yesterday I realized I need this time with others. Maybe I need to visit more now because I certainly won’t be taking to the road so much in the winter or maybe there are other reasons. Whatever it is, I

Opening speaker, Sonia Manzano aka “Maria”

won’t be sitting still soon. Maybe my travel bug is stirring.

This month, my third and final article appeared in Voya and it addresses what some publishing companies are doing to attract and promote authors of color. I met with reps from Cinco Puntos at JCLC and they are actively seeking authors of color. I also met a couple of publishers who publish works for people of color and I’ll be posting interviews with them soon.

I’ve been avoiding finishing In Darkness by Nick Lake, but I’m so close I have to be ready to post a review this week. Goodness knows I need to sit still long enough to write more blog posts.

I want to spend the rest of my afternoon reading through my neglected blog feeds and re-connecting with blogger friends. Rather, I have to do some work to my ‘Intro to the Library’ presentation. I’m sure this will be a work in progress for quite some time as I work to fully understand all the underlying messages I hope to deliver. I rarely use Boolean; do I want to emphasize it so much? Can I really step away from mentioning tech tools that assist and support the research process like PowerPoint, Word… ? How do I convey this presentation is a welcome to the library and not an end to what we have to offer?  Education is a process, isn’t it?!

Wherever your week takes you, there you will be.