Services for Black Youth • Tips
Tips for Building a Culturally Responsive Library Collection

Effective library resources for Black youth nurture their resolve and enable these youth to reconcile their multiple identities and reimagine their place in the world. Such resources provide counterstories and are relevant, meaningful, developmentally appropriate, and enabling.

The following tips can serve as a starting point for librarians to identify and collect such resources.

  • Work with youth, parents, teachers, and administrators to select rich and enabling resources.

  • Write publishers to demand diverse texts.

  • Be intentional in recommending texts to Black youth.

  • Ensure that collection development policy includes criteria for evaluating and selecting culturally relevant and enabling texts.

  • Feature culturally relevant materials in library displays, booktalks, and recommended reading lists.

  • Invest in technology (such as laptops, e-readers, and tablets) that youth can check out.

  • For school libraries, allow materials to be checked out over school breaks and in the summer.

  • Think beyond print and digital resources to include human resources in the community, for example civic and business leaders, artists, writers, etc.

  • Provide resources that facilitate student expression and cultivation of voice: blogging platforms, video and audio recording and editing software, word-processing tools, etc.


For tips about effective library space, programming, instruction, staff, and administration please see Libraries, Literacy, and African American Youth: Research & Practice by Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Pauletta Bracy, and Casey H. Rawson (Libraries Unlimited, 2017).

MLA Citation Hughes-Hassell, Sandra, and Casey H. Rawson. "Services for Black Youth: Tips for Building a Culturally Responsive Library Collection ." School Library Connection, May 2017,

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Entry ID: 2077545