Equity Warriors, Assemble!
by Sarah Sansbury
Equal access to information is at the heart of the library. It is the library where “all learners have equitable access to up-to-date, appropriate resources, technologies, and digital connectivity” (Kachel, 2018, p. 44). This is why Debra Kachel aptly bestows librarians the title of “Equity Warriors” in her Teacher Librarian article entitled “School Librarians as Equity Warriors: Advocating for All Students.“
We, librarians, are uniquely situated to make positive strides in equity, but this does not happen without intentionality, effort, and support. Calling all Equity Warriors--Assemble!
Fostering Equity in the Library
Three main ways come to the forefront of my mind:
Equal access to information and resources--For example, Makerspaces with enrichment like robotics and 3D printers allow students to have access and exposure to tech they may not have experienced if it wasn’t accessible in the library.
Counterbalancing the negative effect of “book deserts so that all students can benefit from a rich reading experience
Developing a diverse and inclusive collection that allows students to see themselves in it as well as provides a window into other perspectives to squash ignorance and foster empathy--This is why anti-censorship and supporting the freedom to read is so vital.
Barriers to Equity in the Library
What are some of the main outside barriers impeding school librarians from being effective agents of equity?
Censorship that blocks access to age-appropriate information and resources
Lack of a flexible schedule--The school library and librarian should be available for students whenever they need it.
Lack of funding--A well-funded library allows a collection to stay up-to-date and relevant
Advocacy as Equity Warriors
This is why we advocate and make sure we are visible, so our school community understands how powerful it can be to have a well-funded library program staffed with a certified librarian with a flexible schedule. Remember equity in the library needs intentionality, effort, and support from our admin and other stakeholders.
Want to read more about how being an equity warrior is embedded in the AASL standards? Check out this AASL Knowledge Quest article: “Speaking Up for EquityTakes Courage—But the Standards Have Your Back.”
Kachel, D. E. (2018). School librarians as equity warriors: Advocating for all students. Teacher
Librarian, 46(2), 44–46.