Multnomah County, Oregon – For the first time ever, the Multnomah County Library announced a new two-year plan, to make the library better for all users, primarily minorities and African American families. Annie Lewis is the Early Childhood Services Manger. She explains the goal is to learn from you, the community, how to improve services, then make the changed needed. She says inclusion has always been a pillar they stand on. The research and coming changes were made possible by a grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust and other donations. It’s a continuation of work they’ve been doing for some years, but this is the first time it’s been publically announced.
KXL’s Jacob Dean talked with her. Listen to the full interview here:
Read more from Multnomah County here:
Multnomah County Library deepens commitment to serving Black families
Grant-funded effort seeks to eliminate barriers to access and opportunity with community input
PORTLAND, Ore. — December 6, 2018 — Multnomah County Library will begin a new two-year initiative funded in part by a grant from Meyer Memorial Trust to better serve and support African and African American families.
This initiative aims to build momentum and capacity for the library to enact systemic changes that better serve Black families through community action research, a methodology that helps researchers work in partnership with community stakeholders to develop solutions to local problems.
Community action research will engage with African and African-American families to understand and address barriers and inequities related to kindergarten readiness and transition. Research has shown that Black children often face disparities in school readiness, which signal disparate educational, economic and social outcomes later in life.
A Meyer Memorial Trust award of $148,000, with an addition of $89,000 from other donors to The Library Foundation, with support from the Collins Foundation, will fund this work.
The work builds on a 2011 library research grant, Preparing African American Children for Kindergarten Readiness, which showed that African American families do not always feel welcome and included in educational institutions and in libraries.
This effort advances Multnomah County Library’s culturally relevant service, which includes staff, materials and programs for five languages other than English and for the Black community. That service also includes Black Cultural Library Advocate staff, the library’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program and aligns with the library’s organizational priorities.
The initiative is led by Multnomah County Library and made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation, including grants from Meyer Memorial Trust and the Collins Foundation. The library will issue a request for proposals for research expertise to lead the work in December 2018 with community outreach and research set to begin in spring of 2019.
“A public library should be a community’s most open and inclusive institution,” said Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke. “Thanks to the generosity of Meyer Memorial Trust and the support of The Library Foundation, Multnomah County Library can live that value, better serve Black families and eliminate barriers for those who are oppressed or have been oppressed.”