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 identities and take action to address social justice issues more explicitly.”
The EJB initiative and Bishop’s work have converged in FISW’s Literacy Agreements, which librarian and Literacy Coordinator Natasha Pollock characterizes as “the core pillars of our literacy program.” In the quest to “honor their own identity and the identity of others,” students use the language of mirrors, windows and sliding- glass doors to “see themselves in literature and to learn about others’ experiences.” Additionally, the agreement utilizes the list of characteristics from the EJB initiative itself to explore central figures with a variety of experiences, even adding the following considerations when choosing narratives: age, ethnicity, family makeup, gender identity and expression, language, learning ability, and physical ability.
Such a collection of stories would not be easy to amass, but, fortunately, FIS librarians are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to expand our students’ exposure to diverse perspectives.
Bethany Fields, FISO Primary School Librarian, explains, “When I am curating the library collection, I am making sure that I am looking beyond the most well-known authors/illustrators to find authors, illustrators, and publishing houses from all corners of the globe... I then make a conscious effort to use these books in lessons, read-alouds, book recommendations, and displays.” Her efforts have been recognized by both parents and students. Ms. Fields continues,
“I have had students tell me they love their library books because they are able to see themselves in
the main characters... I have a lot of requests from parents for books that are representing the world or other EJB topics so that they can introduce or discuss these cultures or issues at home.”
FISO Upper School Librarian Manatsu McClusky serves a more mature population but her goals are similar. She continues to acquire resources that address both timeless issues and those that have made recent headlines. Ms. McClusky summarizes, “...our responsibility (is) to build a collection with good quality literature (both fiction and non-fiction) that includes various perspectives that nurture empathy. Most of what would be discussed in the context of EJB has always been included in our collection. Having said that, more awareness of late on certain topics, such as LGBTQ and Black Lives Matter, makes non-fiction books about these topics and fiction books with protagonists whose identities are still labelled by the society more readily available.”
Expanding our libraries’ holdings, creating interesting and contemporary displays and hosting authors from a variety of backgrounds are already enhancing our students’ experiences, but FIS Librarians acknowledge that, when it comes to our stories, equity, justice and belonging are ongoing, challenging, but incredibly necessary goals. Ms. Fields reminds, “This is not a quick process... it takes time, commitment, and openness to create a more well-rounded and equitable library collection for all.” Or as Ms. Ingham summarizes,“There can always be more voices.”
Katie Thieme FIS Parent
A sample of book recommendations (above), and a wide variety of titles in the Upper School library (below)
 June 2023 FIS World 11

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