Welcome to the Project READY online curriculum site.
This site hosts a series of free, online professional development modules for school and public youth services librarians, library administrators, and others interested in improving their knowledge about race and racism, racial equity, and culturally sustaining pedagogy. The primary focus of the Project READY curriculum is on improving relationships with, services to, and resources for youth of color and Native youth.
Watch the video below for a visual introduction to the curriculum.
Research shows that youth services library staff in both public and school libraries recognize the need for professional and personal knowledge related to race and racism and anti-racist work (Hughes-Hassell & Stivers, 2015); however, there are currently few comprehensive resources that specifically address the needs of library professionals. In addition, research shows that few library science master’s programs emphasize racial equity, cultural competence, or diversity and social justice. For example, in a recent survey of early-career youth services librarians, only 26.8% of respondents said that social justice was included in a substantive way in their master’s curriculum; 37.2% said that cultural competency was substantively included, and 41.8% said that equity and inclusion were substantively included. Related to these findings, a majority (54.08%) of respondents said that their master’s programs did not prepare them well for working with youth of color and other marginalized youth (unpublished survey data, 2019). Another study showed that exposure to Critical Race Theory and other critical approaches appears to be limited in LIS master’s programs by instructor and institution (Gibson, Hughes-Hassell, & Threats, 2018).
The Project READY curriculum addresses this gap in existing professional development opportunities for youth services library staff. The curriculum aims to do the following:
- introduce youth services library staff to research in areas such as race and racism, critical theory, and culturally responsive or sustaining pedagogy.
- establish a shared understanding of foundational concepts and issues related to race, racism, and racial equity.
- encourage self-reflection related to race and racial identity for both white and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) library staff in public and school libraries.
- amplify the work of practitioners and scholars who are providing inclusive and culturally responsive services for youth of color and Indigenous youth.
- provide concrete strategies for creating and/or improving library programs and services for Black youth, Indigenous youth, and children and teens of color.
No matter where you are on your own personal and professional racial equity journey, this curriculum offers opportunities to deepen and extend your understanding:
- If you are new to racial equity work, Project READY will help you build a solid foundation for future exploration.
- If you are already familiar with some of the foundational concepts covered here, Project READY will refresh your prior knowledge and give you tools to translate your knowledge into improved professional practice.
- If you are already deeply familiar with issues related to race and racism, Project READY can give you a starting point for discussions with colleagues who are not, and can give you additional real-world examples of how libraries are enacting racial equity work.
For more information about the full project, which included the development and implementation of a face-to-face professional development curriculum in Wake County, North Carolina, please visit our other website.
To begin, navigate to the Getting Started: Curriculum Guide page.
(Optional) Please help us understand who is using the Project READY curriculum.
Gibson, A. N., Hughes-Hassell, S., & Threats, M. (2018). Critical theory in the LIS curriculum. In Sarin, L.C., Percell, J., Jaeger, P.T., & Bertot, J.C. Re-Envisioning the MLIS: Perspectives on the Future of Library and Information Science Education, Volume 44B (pp. 49-70). Bingley, England: Emerald Group Publishing.
Hughes-Hassell, S. and Stivers, J. (2015). Examining youth services librarians’ perceptions of cultural knowledge as an integral part of their professional practice. School Libraries Worldwide, 21(1), 121136.