A couple of weeks ago, Caledon Public Library hosted its annual staff forum where all library staff gathered to learn about a number of issues and upcoming trends in public libraries. The keynote speaker was Jael Richardson of the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD), who spoke to us about the importance of supporting diverse writers in public libraries and advocating for increased representation of these author’s works in our collections.
Embracing diversity through reading is an excellent opportunity to gain insight into the lives of people who may have different cultural or socio-economic experiences from our own. Jael argued that it is not simply enough to passively support diversity, rather, people must engage with difficult topics and actively pursue literature by writers who provide diverse perspectives. This is especially important because diverse authors continue to be underrepresented in publishing, and consequently in library collections.
Jael’s speech has inspired me to read more books by diverse writers, and has opened my eyes to the incredible talent and selection of works by diverse Canadian authors available at Caledon Public Library.
Here are a few recommendations of great titles in our collection:
milk and honey by Rupi Kaur
Summary: milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival and the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.
For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu
Summary: For Today I Am a Boy is a novel about the struggles of growing up in small-town Ontario as a woman in the body of a Chinese man.
Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz
Summary: Bone & Bread is a novel about two sisters who are orphaned as teenagers and are sent to live with their Sikh uncle in Montreal’s Hasidic community, while dealing with enormous grief and loss.
You can discover many more talented authors by exploring #DiverseCanLit on Twitter or talking to your local librarian for recommendations. Happy reading!