Working Together for Library Outreach 3 Bureau Report, more than seventy-six million students were enrolled in U.S. schools nationwide from the kindergarten to college level (Census Bureau, 2018). Students are becoming a more diverse population, and library ser- vices must promote diversity and inclusion to attract these youth. Learning to develop outreach programs that promote African American writers can be useful as a model to develop other diversity outreach programs. Libraries, through outreach, can connect with youth culture and with whole communities. However, there is no single definition for how libraries should connect with communities or conduct “outreach.” Editors of one casebook on the subject assert that if you “ask ten different librarians to define it—and explain how they are doing it at their institutions—you will get ten different answers” (Sittler and Rogerson, 2018, vii). One academic librarian defines library outreach as all “those efforts designed to engage users with library staff, services, or resources. It encom- passes instruction, programming, committee and other collaborative work, and social media use” (Ramsey, 2016, 329). Libraries provide outreach and programs to engage client populations of all ages and of all racial and ethnic groups within the immediate communi- ties where they are located, as well as other physical and virtual communi- ties for which they may have connections. Promoting African American Writers is a guidebook that provides program advice for accomplishing that. ENCOURAGING READING, DIVERSITY, AND CULTURAL LITERACY How do librarians and others promote African American writers in pro- grams that provide forums for their work to be shared with the public for educational and cultural benefit? Librarians can find inspiration and support from various advocates such as We Need Diverse Books (WNDB), an organization that emerged in 2014 from a grassroots group of children’s book lovers using the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks. A year later, in 2015, WNDB had become a trade- mark, nonprofit organization promoting diverse books, embracing the cul- tures of all children and youth. WNDB continues to grow and to expand its services. It is a rich, “go-to” resource for all programmers, writers, and pub- lishers who want to promote diversity in literature, including Black writers. WNDB provides diverse resources for K–12 schools, gives different grant awards to young diverse writers, and partners with several book publishers that do similar promotional work. African American literature is a unique part of American literature. Afri- can American writers emerged over hundreds of years to produce a rich lit- erature. This literature originated in part from its roots in Africa and developed and thrived even after the enslavement of Africans in America. It
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