Embracing Culturally Responsive Practice in School Libraries

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School librarians have always connected learners’ life experiences, cultures, and communities to materials, projects, and processes. As schools look to make these connections within the classroom and to the curriculum, school librarians are perfectly poised to lead and model meaningful steps toward a culturally responsive mindset. Embracing Culturally Responsive Practice in School Libraries celebrates how learners’ cultures shape everything from their communication to how they process information. This book translates complex concepts into accessible and practical school library strategies while challenging readers to embrace and nurture their personal and professional growth. An authentic and approachable guide to culturally responsive pedagogy aligned with the National School Library Standards, this book features

  • an adapted framework with actionable steps and activities based on culturally responsive principles that directly relate to AASL Standards;
  • scenarios offering context for learning, demonstrating conflicts, exploring potential harm, and suggesting strategies; and
  • reflective exercises and challenges, introductory definitions, and resources for deeper exploration.        


Part 1: School Librarian
Chapter1: Looking Inward
Chapter 2: Mindful Modeling

Part 2: School Library
Chapter 3: Working with What You Have
Chapter 4: Step into the Library
Chapter 5: Thriving Partnerships

Part 3: Learner 
Chapter 6: Active Participants
Chapter 7: Scenarios

Part 4: Evaluation
Chapter 8: School Librarian Evaluation 
Chapter 9: Learner Evaluation


  • Appendix A: Worksheets 
  • Worksheet A.1: Social Identity Garden Worksheet
  • Worksheet A.2: Personal Identity Garden Worksheet
  • Worksheet A.3: KWWHL Chart Worksheet

Work Cited

Elisabet Kennedy

Elisabet Kennedy works as a school librarian at a high school in New Jersey. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Journalism Media Studies from Rutgers University, went on to earn her Master in Library Information Science from San Jose State University, and most recently earned a Master of Arts in Education from Marshall University. She values continuous professional growth through studying and implementing inclusion and representation initiatives in school libraries, understanding and improving user experience, and learning from antiracist/antibias practitioners. She is a proud Latina, homebody, thyroid cancer survivor, pop culture fangirl, and local cuisine enthusiast.

"Kennedy’s book serves as a guide to applying pedagogical principles to school library strategies that promote literacy, increase access, and practice inclusive and equitable practices with a culturally proficient mindset ... [It is] thoughtful and practical."
— Booklist