4 SOCIAL JUSTICE AT STORYTIME opportunities can exist in the form of community initiatives, activism, or free and accessible programs. Therefore, as the social justice lens broadens in society, libraries not only take notice but are beginning to heed the call of what to do next and how they can help. From offering programs such as drag queen storytime, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) classes for girls, staying open during civil unrest—like Ferguson Municipal Libraries did during 2014 after the grand jury’s decision not to indict officers in the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri—to changing how they deliver services during a global pandemic, libraries are much more than a building filled with books and movies. For some, the new role of public libraries is as the Swiss army knife of organizations— they are continuously being advocates for the community they serve instead of remaining neutral in times of social and civil unrest. Library directors have even begun to look at how to embed social justice work into librarianship through inclusion as well as to create goals that bring about effective outcomes for the staff and the community. They are taking a look at what libraries should be doing and how libraries can eliminate equity boundaries in library programs, services, policies, and practices. No lon- ger are libraries only the gatekeepers of information they are becoming a symbol for change and acceptance in today’s society. In this book, when we refer to social justice, we are referring to it as a broad subject that is not limited to any social or political movement but rather one that broadens the view of society, thus creating ways to increase the ability, opportunity, and dignity of marginalized groups—also known as social inclusion. As the world has turned its focus to creating frameworks around equity, diversity, and inclusion, many are able to finally recognize that inclusion is the sum of equity and diversity because it is the application of ensuring that people feel they belong. Inclusion leads to positive human interactions. Social justice is the virtue that guides people toward positive organized human interactions. In one word, these interactions are known as organizations. The library is one of these organizations and strives to offer opportunities to all in a just way. When any organization is duly assembled, it provides access to what is good for people individually and in associations with others. Therefore, social justice in libraries is a movement that provides equal access to library services for all—which includes chil- dren and caregivers. This encompasses the fair and compassionate distribu- tion of information, as well as the right to representation through storytime. Storytime should be a space that is welcoming, safe, and inclusive. It should be a place where all feel accepted and have a voice. This is the action of social justice at storytime before themes even come into play. But it cannot and does not stop there. Social justice at storytime creates this safe
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