There have been several incredibly helpful posts floating around twitter, encouraging you to get involved politically and call your representatives. I don’t have enough knowledge to give you that sort of advice but I do have experience working at a library and being a blogger so I wanted to put together a mini-list of how you can be helpful on a smaller scale as a reader (but please also do things on a larger scale because those are the things that will really help make a difference.)
1. Check out diverse books (by diverse authors) from your library.
You have no idea how important this is. If books don’t get circ’d (checked out), they have to be ‘weeded’ (aka, taken out of the collection) and now more than ever, diverse books NEED to be available. At the public library I work at, the YA Librarian was weeding through the collection and a lot of books with no or minimal check outs tended to be diverse books (written by diverse authors.) This will not be true for all libraries, especially ones located in cities, but this was true for ours (and I am sure there are some others who have experienced a similar trend.) The YA librarian at my library chose to not weed out a lot of the diverse books because she also felt that now more than ever, we needed these stories but not everyone will feel that way SO PLEASE show diverse books some love. It isn’t just enough for libraries to buy them, if they don’t get checked out, they will be less likely to buy them or will have to get rid of them.
2. Listen to what diverse bloggers have to say (about books + other things.)
And I am not just saying this because I am one. Seriously, if they say a book is deeply offensive to them, LISTEN. Listen to what they have to say about diverse books written by authors who don’t have the same experiences they have had. Listen to them for amazing #ownvoices recommendations (perhaps books they feel accurately represent them) and listen to them when they mention inconsistencies b/w the book and cultures. Make them feel like they aren’t just shouting in a void, trying to be heard.
3. Read more diverse books by diverse authors.
Don’t just read diverse books, read #ownvoices. Support them and their stories. Don’t just go on about that amazing diverse book written by a white cichet author who doesn’t have the same experiences as an #ownvoices author. I am not saying that diverse books written by white cishet authors cannot be good or that you should feel bad about reading them, but please try to support #ownvoices who are trying to tell their stories. Also talk about these books! Especially those that haven’t gotten as much hype as others.
I know a lot of this won’t be new info but I mostly just wanted to remind people to check out diverse books from their libraries so the libraries will have reasons to keep them. I was so sad when I saw how little some (amazing) diverse books were being checked out at our library. I want these stories to be available to those who need them (and even those who don’t!)
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