Yesterday I had the pleasure of presenting a webinar with my good friend and inspiration, author and literacy advocate Pat Mora. The topic was Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros (Day of the Child/Day of the Book), the annual celebration of the power of books and reading to change children’s lives that Pat founded in the U.S. in 1996. We had a great conversation and I hope that listeners were inspired to start planning their own Día events for this year. (April 30 is the traditional date of this event, but we encourage celebrations anytime in April and to promote reading throughout the year).
TSLAC is promoting Día this year: that is, we are reviving the work of promoting Día that began under the direction of Jeanette Larson in cooperation with the Texas Library Association in the late 1990s. We are promoting Día because it is a wonderful way to acknowledge, serve, and respect children from multicultural backgrounds. But as I pointed out on our webinar, I have ulterior motives: the demographics of Texas are rapidly changing. We are already a minority majority state where more than 50% of our population is non-white. By 2020, the Latino population of Texas will outnumber non-Hispanic whites. And communities across the state from Amarillo to Houston are seeing greater diversity of immigrants from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. We are a changing state and if our library services do not reflect the changes, we will very quickly find ourselves irrelevant to the majority of the people that live and work in our communities.
So our staff, led by Jennifer Peters of our Library Development and Networking staff, have been working on a plan to promote Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros to the libraries of Texas. Our webinar was a kick-off and on February 10, Jeanette Larson will present a webinar in which she provides very practical advice for planning and presenting a Día event in your library. And attendees registered for the actual webinar (not the archived version) will receive a copy of Jeanette’s book, El día de los ninos/El día de los libros: Building a Culture of Literacy in Your Community Through Día.
If you would like to read more about Pat Mora and Día, please see this article in the current newsletter of the Association of Library Services for Children (ALSC):
I urge all public and school libraries to consider hosting at least a small Día event this year, and, as Pat would say, “Celebrate Bookjoy.”