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Building a Bridge to Literacy for African-American Male Youth

By the time this posts, I will be in a plane leaving hot and humid North Louisiana behind and make my way to North Carolina for the Building a Bridge to Literacy for African-American Male Youth: A Call to Action for the Library Community Summit held at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. It’s very hard to get to know someone through a blog and what their passions are, other than teen library services, but one of my deepest passions is working with urban and incarcerated youth.

Last summer at ALA Annual in New Orleans, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Sandra Hughes Hassell during a YA Networking panel. She and I shared some of our interests and as all speed networking panels go, exchanged business cards and she asked me to look at the webpage she was working on for a grant about working with African-American male teens. A few months later, I received an email from Sandra inviting me to be a panel presenter for the summit, speaking specifically on public library services and on the projects that I work on with my urban teens. I was, and still am, completely honored to have this privilege to attend this summit and share ideas with my fellow library colleagues, as well as learn more about what we can do to bridge a literacy gap that seems to be spiraling out of control.

I will be posting some from the conference, provided that my Internet and iPad cooperate, and when I get back, I plan to do a full follow up so that we here, at Teen Librarian’s Toolbox, can keep abreast of trends in working with urban youth, policies or infrastructure changes which our libraries can incorporate to better serve the needs of these teens, and also just to provide a discussion point where we can communicate our ideas, successes, and even failures as we attempt to make sure all of our teens are served equally and positively.

Building a Bridge to Literacy is a collaborative summit, relying on the efforts of like-minded people and organizations. This summit will unite national stakeholders, including members of the library and education community, researchers, educational policy makers, national organizations focused on the needs of African-American youth, publishers, and young black males, to focus on the role of school and public libraries in closing the literacy achievement gap of African-American male youth.

Follow this summit during June 3-5 via Twitter by following the #bridge2lit hashtag and also by following the official project’s Twitter account @bridge2lit. There is also a blog where information will be posted relating to this topic and the summit website here.