THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE 13 When people have not been outside of the environment to which they are accustomed, or have only been exposed to other communities through television, social media, or even books, it is easy to form personal opinions that can lead to implicit biases. While the topic of this book is social justice at storytime, we cannot continue the discussion without mentioning implicit bias. Implicit bias is the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. Until recently, many picture books, middle grade books, and beyond have not had positive representation of multicultural characters. Neither have mov- ies, the news, or even personal conversations at home among adults who have not learned beyond their own background. So how do we help pre- vent implicit bias from happening at storytime and create a welcoming space for all? Social justice at storytime promotes inclusivity. Because the main goal of storytime is to encourage learning, literacy, and a love for books and the library, it is important for the library to be a safe and brave space for all. Storytimes should be filled with learning, movement, laughter, and fun, but they can be even more enlightening by including social topics that are inclusive of all communities. Furthermore, storytime is a way for librarians to model early literacy techniques for par- ents and caregivers to take away and use with the entire family. We will discuss how to implement social justice at storytime in the following chap- ter, but for now we will look at more reasons that social justice at storytime is important. PROMOTE UNIT Y, EQUIT Y, AND COMMUNIT Y EMPOWERMENT Historically, social injustice surrounding race, gender, ability, and eco- nomic status toward different communities has been a constant issue, and we have seen negative effects on these communities because of the lack of positive social development. Work toward promoting diversity and inclu- sion has been pushed and implemented in many areas, but due to some individuals’ inability to move beyond implicit bias, there is still division among many communities and cultures. Because of this ongoing division, it can sometimes be a challenge to make the conscious choice to incorpo- rate social justice topics in storytime for fear of parent or administration concerns. This is another topic we will discuss in a later chapter. However, the increase of social injustices in society is forcing many people to acknowledge that they do exist and impact children just as much as adults. Children have feelings, emotions, and concerns and are affected by social issues as “breaking news” happens in and around their lives to their loved
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