In the wake of tragedy, followed by continuing protests around the country, I imagine many of you, like me, are wondering how to best support your students during this time. I have gathered a few ideas from colleagues and social media that I hope you will find useful:
- Use social media and/or your library website to send messages of support. FYI, Hafuboti, a blog created by a Nebraska public librarian, has updated their popular “Libraries Are for Everyone” signs with #BlackLivesMatter. You can find them here.
- Share mental health resources on social media and/or your library website. Be sure to include resources specifically for marginalized groups.
- Consider creating a guide to evaluating sources that is accessible from your library webpage. Also, share reliable news sources regarding current events. Point students toward fact-checking sites like Snopes and Politifact. Additionally, share information about media bias such as Media Bias/Fact Check and AllSides.
- Compile and share articles that outline ways that students can get involved, like this article from Science News for Students.
- Share book lists for students that explore the history and reality of racism such as this list from the Seattle Times or this list from Publishers Weekly.
- Share books by black authors and about black characters that show the breadth of life experiences. Be sure to highlight joyful titles. (Please do this all year, every year.) Here is an excellent list of picture books from School Library Journal.
- Examine your own biases and do the work to educate yourself on how to support equity for all students within your library spaces.
Do you have any ideas about how best to support students?
Author: Brandi Hartsell
Brandi Hartsell is the school librarian at Halls High School in Knoxville, TN. She was awarded Teacher of the Year at HHS in 2021. Brandi was also recognized alongside colleagues as recipients of the Tennessee Association of School Librarians (TASL) Teacher Collaboration Award in 2019 and 2021. She has served (and continues to serve) in many leadership roles within TASL. Brandi has presented professional development sessions for TASL, Halls High School, and Knox County Schools. Brandi loves sharing ideas and brainstorming…also cats…and true crime. Follow her on Instagram @hhslibrarytn.