Yolo County Librarian Patty Wong is the 2012 recipient of the American Library Association Equality Award. The annual award, $1,000 and a framed citation of achievement are given to an individual or group for outstanding contributions toward promoting equality in the library profession.

In being selected for the award, Wong was noted for her outstanding efforts in teaching and mentoring students. “As an instructor at the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University since 2006, a participant on many Spectrum scholarship committees and a mentor for many students from diverse backgrounds, she reaffirms on a daily basis her commitment to making libraries more diverse and a core part of the communities they serve” said the ALA in a recent  news release .


The Joint Conference of Librarians of Color will begin registration for the 2012 conference,  Celebrating Stories, Embracing Communities on 1 March. The conference will be held 19-23 September in Kansas City, MO.

7 March is World Read Aloud Day. From their website:

 World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.

By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.

Volunteer to read to a group of students, senior citizens or close friends! Find a community leader or local author to read to your students! Sign up for a Skype visit from an author who will volunteer to read to your students! I am working on plans for my school now and hope to post pics of a great, reading aloud/reading allowed kinda day!

A blanket of clouds lined the sky last Thursday

Speaking of author visits!!! This past Thursday, Ben Davis High School’s Media Specialist extraordinaire Kathy Hicks-Brooks invited me to hear author L. Divine! She even gave me the OK to bring teachers Ms. Preddie St. Claire and Ms. Butler, Language Arts teachers who have come to know Ms. Divine’s Drama High series through their students. Both spoke to me about how well their students relate to Ms. Divine’s books and how hard it is to keep copies of the books in their classroom libraries. While the Drama High books primarily appeals to girl readers, boys looking to read a little romance enjoy the books as well. I’ve even had young men checkout a copy from my library because they were attracted by the young woman on the cover!

Ms. Divine had spent the entire day with at Ben Davis, visiting classes and speaking to groups of students. We met her at a dinner in the evening where she spoke of how much she missed teaching, relaxing with teachers in the lounge and hosting after school activities for students.  She was a storyteller who took us through her time as a grad student, as a teacher who struggled with the concept of ‘attachment theory and as a young woman struggling to be an independent mother and provider and always, as an advocate for the students she served.

Her attachment to her students probably led her

L. Divine at Ben Davis H.S.

to write ‘The Fight’ after one student burst into her classroom to fight another over some boy. This story grew into the Drama High series which currently has readers anxiously waiting for volume 15, Street Soldier. Her passionate presentation energized both students and staff to work together for a productive future.

Unfortunately, Ms. Divine seems to have hit the wall that too many authors of color hit after publishing one or two successful books. With a new series ready to go and no publisher ready to take her on she,  like several other writers of color, is ready to self publish.  As she stated, “it’s the faith in what you’re doing, in what you have to give” that seems to motivate her not only  to work to provide young people with books they want to read but to continue being an advocate for young people who seem to have lost their own voice.

L. Divine was recently featured on the BrownBookshelf’s 28 Days Later.

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