Developing Diverse Multiple Format Reading Materials

Instructor: Frank Clint

Frank has been an educator for over 10 years. He has a doctorate degree in education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction.

Learn how to develop a collection of reading and informational materials in multiple formats that support the diverse developmental, cultural, social, and linguistic needs of P-12 students and their communities. Diversity issues will also be discussed.

Developing a Library: A Librarian's Dilemma

It's late on a Thursday night, and a school librarian sits at her computer trying to decide how to develop the empty library for her campus. Her school is brand new and is in a neighborhood with families from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, so she has lots of needs to consider. Adding to her dilemma, her campus library will serve students in grades K-12 for two years until the new high school is completed. She realizes that it is her responsibility to provide access to materials, in multiple formats that support the diversity of her school community.

A librarian is tasked with making sure the library meets the diverse educational and recreational needs of students.

Diverse Reading Materials

Think about the reason for the existence of a library. It's there for the different educational and recreational needs of readers. But how can we meet all of those needs if students and their communities have diverse cultural, social, and linguistic needs? The answer is through a commitment to ensuring accessibility to all who are part of the community served by the library.

The American Library Association has a ''Library Bill of Rights'' that states that librarians are obligated to meet the needs of their readers by committing to providing access to material with diversity in perspectives and subject matter. This commitment is made to meet the interests, abilities, and needs of the community served by the library.

Diversity means the collection should reflect a variety of perspectives on religious, political, minority, social, and sexual issues. At the same time, these subjects should be appropriate for the age groups each specific section, or entire library, serves. For example, some of these topics might not be appropriate for a children's section or an elementary school library.

Multiple Genres and Formats

Developing a library, such as the one tasked to the librarian of the new school mentioned above, requires putting thought into the genres and formats that will be included.

The school library will need multiple genres. These include:

  • Popular fiction
  • Literary fiction
  • Non-fiction for fun
  • Non-fiction for educational needs

Formats provided in a school library should include reading material geared toward young adults, teens, and adults. You will also need to consider different formats based on the library's budget and space, as well as the developmental needs and abilities of the students who will use the materials. Some formats might include:

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