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Consider the Practical


Lesson 7 presents the example of librarian Kathyrn Cole at Northside Elementary School in Chapel Hill, NC, who works with a diverse student population. A welcoming space displaying positive messaging and culturally responsive texts are some ways in which this librarian and library demonstrate research into practice for literacy development for students of color. Summer programming in partnership with the public library is one approach utilized to address summer slide, with particular attention to the practical and academic needs of students and families.


Analyze and reflect on your school's student and family demographics, including language(s) spoken at home. Use school, local, and state data (as available) and U.S. Census data ( to compile current, accurate information. Using the example of Kathryn Cole and the Northside library, consider the practical side of your students' academic needs (e.g., access to library in the summer). What are some of these needs, and what steps can you and the school library program take to address them? Pay particular attention to students outside of your own ethnic/cultural group(s) and those who may be underserved by existing programming. Make a list of potential school and community partners you could approach in your efforts.


Pencil/pen and paper or word processing application

About the Authors

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, PhD, is professor at the School of Information & Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the recipient of the 2013 and 2014 Virginia Hamilton Essay Award Citation for her essays on the topic of African American youth, literacy instruction, and text choices for services to multicultural populations.

Casey Rawson, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned a PhD in 2016 and an MSLS in 2011 with a concentration in school library media. She also holds an MAT in middle grades education from the University of Louisville and is a former sixth- and seventh-grade science teacher. Her research interests include teacher-librarian collaboration in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) content areas, diversity and equity in youth services librarianship, and portrayals of scientists in children's literature. Her articles include “Are All Lists Created Equal? Diversity in Award-Winning and Bestselling Young Adult Fiction,” which received the 2012 YALSA Writing Award; and “Rethinking the Texts We Use in Literacy Instruction with Adolescent African American Males,” written with Sandra Hughes-Hassell, which received a 2013 Virginia Hamilton Essay Award Honor Citation.

Select Citation Style:
Morris, Rebecca J. "Services for Black Youth: Consider the Practical." School Library Connection, May 2017,
Morris, Rebecca J. "Services for Black Youth: Consider the Practical." School Library Connection, May 2017.
Morris, R. J. (2017, May). Services for black youth: Consider the practical. School Library Connection. Retrieved from

Entry ID: 2128530