As you know, Digital Teacher Librarians do amazing work at our Jeffco Schools. What you might not know is that DTLs’ dedicated hard work directly impacts families. A few DTLs have shared how their work with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has created new and loving bonds between our students, their families, and the school library.
Holly Wagner, DTL at Elk Creek Elementary shared this story:
“A grandma at Elk Creek was a former teacher librarian in Texas, Linda Thiebaud. She passed away in August and left Elk Creek $300 to purchase Bluebonnet Books as she served on the Texas State Board for many years. One of the books on the list was The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard, illustrated by Oge Mora. I have been reading it to our fourth and fifth graders (last week and this).
One of our fourth graders was having a hard time settling, which is typical for him. His teacher sat next to him to encourage him to listen. Once I began reading, he attended. Then, he started bursting to his teacher, "Look, she looks like me!" And then, he couldn't contain himself. He was so eager to tell his teacher about how he has heard on the news that Black people are not being treated fairly and how mad it makes him. He was captivated seeing himself in a book that Mrs. Wagner was reading to everyone.
We only have a handful of students of color in our school. Each one matters. If I hadn't read that book to the kids, it probably would have sat on the shelf. What we do matters.”
Suzanne Covington, DTL at Kyffin Elementary school sent this email recently:
“Got an email from a mom this morning that said, "this library book Aiden has was right on time tonight...Thanks it really takes a Village!" accompanied with this picture.”
Suzanne shared another story about a family that reached out to her to help find books that could bridge a conversation about Down Syndrome and how their family can be kind and respectful when they visit with a family whose child has Down Syndrome. The ability to share books and resources with families is a key component of creating a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. DTLs do this work in our schools for our families.
These stories show how we need books to be mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors by allowing us to see ourselves in books, to see those who differ from us, and to show us how to walk through to a new experience with some knowledge and understanding of another's happenstance in this life. (Bishop, R.S.1990. Mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors. Perspectives, 6(3), ix–xi.) That is why we need DTLs to put those books into students' hands. Our school libraries and our Jeffco DTLs are connecting with families in significant and deep ways.
This wasn’t meant to be a love letter to DTLs but it is--so thank you DTLs for the amazing and important work you do with our students and families--and thank you to all our Jeffco staff, teachers and administrators who support the work of DTLs because truly we are #bettertogether.