Centering Community, Building Equity: A Social Justice Approach to Outreach with Families and Children in Underserved Communities

Are you seeking to develop relevant and meaningful programs and services for young children and families in underserved communities? Offering outreach programs and services that meet these young children and their families where they live and thrive is crucial for overcoming some of the many barriers these families can face with coming to the library. Centering the community’s values and strengthening equity, engagement, and empowerment in these efforts can help you develop relevant, authentic programs and services that meet these families’ needs and aspirations.

In this webinar, the Project VOICE team will provide an overview of the importance of outreach efforts to underserved communities; how to intentionally integrate the social justice concepts of equity, engagement, and empowerment into these efforts; and the role of community values in developing authentic outreach services for young children and families. The webinar will conclude with an introduction by the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee to their Toolkit series, which provides resources for working with different underserved groups.

This webinar aired live on May 17, 2022, and is made available free of charge by an IMLS grant.

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will learn more about the social justice concepts of equity, engagement, and empowerment and how to be more intentional with these concepts in their outreach efforts.
  • Participants will understand the role of community values, and how to identify them, when working to develop authentic services for young children and families.
  • Participants will become familiar with the toolkit series and resources offered by the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee.. 
ALSC Core Competencies
  • Cultivates an environment for enjoyable and convenient use of library resources, specifically removing barriers to access presented by socioeconomic circumstances, race, culture, privilege, language, gender, ability, religion, immigration status, and commercialism, and other diversities. (1.7)
  • Models customer service with children, families, and their caregivers that is culturally respectful and developmentally appropriate, and works to overcome systems of oppression, discrimination, exclusion, and ethnocentrism. (2.5)
  • Designs, promotes, presents, and evaluates a variety of diverse programs for children, with consideration of equity, diversity, and inclusion; principles of child development; and the needs, interests, and goals of all children, their caregivers, and educators in the community. (3.1)
  • Establishes programs and services for caregivers, childcare providers, educators, and other community professionals who work with children, families, and caregivers. (3.8)
  • Delivers programs outside or inside the library, as well as digitally, to meet users where they are, addressing community and educational needs, including those of unserved and underserved populations. (3.9)