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October/November/December, 2011
Volume 57, Number 4

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LUCY Helps Librarians: Librarianship Upgrades for Children and Youth Services in Virginia

by Kasey Garrison

In the fall of 2009, library science faculty at Old Dominion University (ODU) received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program for a multifaceted, multicultural continuing education program for Virginia librarians. Librarianship Upgrades for Children and Youth Services, or LUCY for short, focuses on diversity training, workshops, and classes for professional children’s and young adult librarians, school librarians, paraprofessionals, and all those who work with children and young adults in libraries. The specific topics offered through the LUCY program are determined through needs assessment surveys administered in two ways. Some are distributed online through professional listservs, including those of the Virginia Library Association (VLA) and Virginia Educational Media Association (VEMA). Others are given out to school and public librarians who attend workshops and conference presentations. Some of these services include professional development workshops; credit courses; and the most successful resource, the online, annotated bibliography of multicultural literature.

A photograph of a cat with the caption 'Librarianship Upgrades for Children and Youth Services.' next to it.
The LUCY project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services

Free Online Bibliography

LUCY’s free online bibliography is a nonselective compilation of multicultural children’s books donated by publishers to the Southeastern Virginia Materials Examination Center at ODU in the Darden College of Education. These books are chosen for LUCY’s bibliography using Rudine Sims Bishop’s definition of multicultural literature as works “that reflect the racial, ethnic, and social diversity characteristic of our pluralistic society and of the world.”1 This comprehensive bibliography is over 250 pages long. It is organized into a variety of multicultural categories such as faiths and religious beliefs; geography; race, nationality, and ethnicity of the books’ main characters and creators; sexual orientation of the books’ main characters and creators; and foreign languages. Each book entry includes general bibliographic information, the Library of Congress’s summary, the book’s designation as a chapter or picture book, and a Dewey number when appropriate. In addition to the bibliography, LUCY personnel also compile resource lists for librarians on the LUCY website and themed book lists corresponding to upcoming seasons and holidays. Share and explore the LUCY bibliography and other resource lists at

Workshops and Courses

LUCY also offers professional development workshops and courses in a variety of different formats and locations. These multicultural workshops can be separated into four main categories: literature and media, technology, programming and services, and professional growth. Courses are delivered face-to-face on ODU’s campus, at Virginia higher education centers, at public libraries, and at other locations arranged with attendees. The LUCY team has successfully delivered in-service workshops for a school district. Those interested can set up contract courses, choosing a time, location, and appropriate format in collaboration with the LUCY team.

In addition to face-to-face formats, LUCY offers many workshops online both synchronously and asynchronously. When these courses are delivered, attendees are sent the course URL so they may view, hear, and interact with other participants and the instructor. These courses are also recorded for later viewing, in case people wishing to attend are not able to match the schedule. Some of these online courses are even free, such as recorded book talks based on recent titles in LUCY’s bibliography.

Check out the calendar of workshops and courses on the LUCY website at for scheduling information. Some free sessions already recorded at are also listed there.

Caption for the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Librarians in Guatemala

… students will travel to Guatemala for two weeks, learn some basics of the Spanish language, and get an in-depth look at Guatemalan culture… .

LUCY is also excited to be offering a three-credit course for ten librarians in summer 2012 that will focus on cultural understanding. For part of the course, students will travel to Guatemala for two weeks, learn some basics of the Spanish language, and get an in-depth look at Guatemalan culture through home stays and related service projects in local orphanages. Contact and check out our website at for more details and scholarship information.

LUCY’s Multicultural Continuing Education Day

LUCY also presented the first Multicultural Continuing Education Day on August 6 — “Sharing Cultures through Children’s Literature.” Four authors of multicultural children’s literature were the presenters for this intimate and interactive conference day. These authors included:

LUCY hopes to put on another successful conference with other multicultural authors and illustrators next August 2012 as well. Join our Facebook group “LUCY” to stay tuned for conference updates and take the opportunity to vote for a weekday or a Saturday next August.

LUCY is a quality multicultural resource for anyone working with children and youth, but is especially relevant for Virginia librarians. Visit to check out LUCY’s free resources, upcoming events, and other ways that LUCY can help your library!


1. Rudine Sims Bishop, “Selecting Literature for a Multicultural Curriculum,” in Using Multiethnic Literature in the K-8 Classroom, ed. V. J. Harris (Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, 1997), 3. VL

Kasey Garrison is a library science doctoral student and graduate research assistant for the LUCY program at Old Dominion University. Her research interests include multicultural children’s literature and how libraries serve their diverse populations of patrons through collection development. She can be reached at

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