Youth librarian accepted to program for diversity

WASHINGTON — Washington Public Library Youth Services Librarian, Jenisa Harris, was one of 14 Iowa librarians selected for a professional development curriculum to improve equity and access for diverse youth programs in the library.

Project READY, which stands for Reimagining Equity & Access for Diverse Youth, has the primary focus of on improving relationships with, services to, and resources for youth of color and Native youth, according to a news release.

Selected by State Library staff through a blind application process, Iowa’s cohort is made up of public librarians from across the state.

Harris said she still is in shock. They found out about a month ago that she had been accepted and since then there has been one meeting.

The cohort — led by State Library youth services consultant Angie Manfredi — will work through the 27 modules that make up the Project READY curriculum over the next nine months in an effort to strengthen and broaden their work for children and teens.

The modules will cover several different topics surrounding diverse youth and Harris said some of it will involve hard conversations.

Librarians that complete the program will receive 35 continuing education credits to go toward meeting their State Library Endorsement renewal.

“We at the State Library are excited to see so many librarians committed to working toward improving their service to Iowa’s youth of color and Native youth,” Manfredi said. “Project READY has been put into action by numerous other libraries across the country and we are pleased that Iowa will be joining this project with the talented and passionate members of this cohort.”

Harris said it is the first time this program has been brought to Iowa and she is excited to be a part of the group and bring the knowledge to the library and community.