Editor's Note: The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is pleased to help share stories of the important work undertaken by our nonprofit grantees. Sharing stories of impact helps the community understand the needs of our region and encourages a community-wide culture of philanthropy. This story was shared by the Library Foundation for Sarasota County (Alisa Mitchell, Executive Director).
At the Library Foundation for Sarasota County, we are constantly privileged to hear personal ‘library stories’ – those moments in someone’s life when they first discovered the magic of a public library. It almost always happens when someone is young. A caring adult will take a young child to the library for the first time, and that child is enthralled with all the books and materials just waiting to be explored.
But what must it feel like to be a child and realize that very few of the books you see are about children like you? Does the library remain a magical place when you don’t see yourself represented there?
Our library system is committed to making sure that everyone sees themselves in the collection, especially children.
Embracing the concept of “windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors,” our library continually works toward a collection that supports the idea that readers should have books that provide a view into the real world (windows), books that reflect the readers’ experiences (mirrors), and books that provide an entryway for new experiences (sliding glass doors).
Thanks to a generous grant from the Edward K. Roberts Emerging Needs Fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, more than 400 new, diverse books have been added to the children’s collection, offering more inclusive stories for our youngest readers.
And the excitement is lighting up not only our children's imaginations, but also our librarians who are thrilled to have more diverse titles to share with families that call our region home. Soon these books will find their way into early literacy and pre-schools events, as well as our story time programming.
As the libraries return to in-person programs starting in July 2021, we hope you’ll stop by to check out these new books and discover the other amazing experiences available at our Sarasota Libraries.
To learn more about the Library Foundation for Sarasota County, visit www.sarasotalibraryfoundation.org
Read more about our grant opportunities here.