On the 25th of October 2018, the University of Washington held an open house for their children’s literature collections across a few of their libraries. UWB/CC Campus Library was among one of the libraries that had the chance to display a fraction of their children’s literature collection. The librarian in charge of representing the UWB/CC Campus at the event, Caitlan Maxwell (Education Librarian), chose to follow a theme centered around the hashtag “#OwnVoices”.
#OwnVoices was created by Corrine Davis, who wanted to have a hashtag for others to be able to recommend children’s literature to each other about “diverse characters written by authors from that same diverse group”. Using the idea of this hashtag, Caitlan selected a few books from the UWB/CC Library collection to display at the Suzzallo Library at the UW Seattle campus.
In addition to bringing these wonderfully diverse books, Caitlan asked if any of the student specialists (who oversee the 2nd floor Children’s Literature book displays) wanted to come along. The UWB/CC Children’s Literature book displays are a one-of-a-kind book display to the UW Libraries. UWB/CC campus library, is the only library who offers their student employees the chance to create children’s literature displays on a topic of their choice. In the recent years these displays have ranged from “Woodland creatures” to “Children’s Literature Around the World” and “Ramadan”.
Recently the focus of the children’s literature displays has been turned to education. Student circulation assistants at the UWB/CC Campus Library want to use these displays as an opportunity to educate children and people in our community on different topics.
For the open house, Caitlan gave me the opportunity to show off a mini display of what we might have here in Bothell, over at Suzzallo Library at the Seattle campus. I wanted to use books that Caitlan would already be bringing with her, following the #OwnVoices theme. With Caitlan’s support, I decided to title the mini display “Womxn” and have books centered around intersectional feminism.
We were not the only library on display that day, Tacoma brought books all around the theme of “Social Justice” which they purchased using a donation from a community member, the East Asia Library brought North Korean comics and literature, and Special Collections put some very old children’s books on display. The displays were all very unique, unfortunately I was unable to photograph them while I was there. I can attest to the special collections books being very antique-like, a little creepy, and heavily guarded from any liquids (I was told to step away from the display when I had a cup of water with me).
Children’s literature is something most adults are expected to stop reading when they reach a certain age. But, why does this have to be the case? In most cases children’s literature will end with the main character having learned a lesson, coming up with a resolution to a problem, or coming to terms with the people around them. These are all lessons we don’t stop learning as adults, children and adults can both take something away from reading children’s literature. I think it’s time we stop shaming adults for enjoying children’s literature, and it’s time we start encouraging it.
If you’re interested in reading some children’s literature, the UWB/CC Campus Library has a large selection. The north end of the third floor has a designated area for children’s literature with hundreds of titles. We also have children’s books available for check out (without fear of fines) in our Rec Reads Collection on the first floor to the left hand side of the front entrance.