Drs. Sandra Hughes-Hassell and Casey Rawson receive grant to create equity and inclusion resource for librarians

February 28, 2017

UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) Professor Sandra Hughes-Hassell and Postdoctoral Research Associate Casey Rawson (MSLS ’11, PhD ’16) have been awarded a Carnegie-Whitney Grant from the American Library Association for their project “Creating Equitable and Inclusive Libraries for Youth: A Professional Development Resource.”

Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Dr. Casey Rawson,
and MSLS student Jim Curry.

The $5,000 grant will fund the curation and selection of resources for an online database that will give youth services librarians the resources to help create equitable and inclusive libraries for young people from a range of backgrounds. Hughes-Hassell and Rawson will be working with current MSLS student Jim Curry over the next year to complete the project. 

 “Many youth services librarians recognize that their libraries aren’t necessarily meeting the needs of diverse youth, but they don’t know where to start improving their services or where to go to further their own knowledge about diversity and inclusion,” Rawson said.  “The good news is that there are amazing, freely accessible resources out there to help, although finding them can take time. I’m excited that this grant will allow us to put in that time to create something that could be a valuable tool for youth services librarians, library administrators, and others.”

Hughes-Hassell and Rawson are also collaborating on Project READY: Reimagining Equity and Access for Diverse Youth–A Professional Development Curriculum, which received funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in 2016. They are co-authors, along with Dr. Pauletta Bracy from North Carolina Central University, of Libraries, Literacy, and African-American Youth: Research and Practice, published in late 2016.

“The Carnegie-Whitney project is a great extension to this work because it will allow us to expand our focus beyond race to other key aspects of diversity, including language, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socioeconomic status,” Rawson said. “All of this work shares a focus on ensuring that youth services librarians have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to provide powerful and equitable services to all children and teens.”