Regenerating Authentic Audiences in the Heart of School Libraries

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In order to equitably serve all students, school libraries depend on a culture of inclusivity. In this article, Meg Boisseau Allison describes how the library space can become an incubator for a school-wide culture of inclusivity by creating opportunities for civil dialogue, community engagement, and diverse learning experiences.

A school library is informally known to be the heart of a school. It is not only the place where a literary community is cultivated, but where all students, theoretically, can access the library and its resources (mindful that access for all learners doesn’t happen in a vacuum—it needs to be built purposefully) and engage in resources with critical and culturally relevant lenses. By its very nature, a school library can be an orbit for equity. Scholars recognize equity as a systematic goal, and teacher-librarians are ideally situated to be equity leaders because of our connections to all learners and school libraries as sites of equity and inclusion because of our intersectionality with all learners (Allison and Langella 2021). This leads naturally to infusing student learning with authentic audiences for their thinking, projects, papers, and learning. An authentic audience does not need to be fabricated in an ecosystem that centers equity and inclusion.

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