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Building Equity-Based Summers

The Office of Library and Information Services is one of six state library agencies piloting the IMLS grant funded initiative Building Equity-Based Summers Through Libraries & Communities (BEBS). Led by the California Library Association (CLA), this project builds on the work of CLA and the California State Library (CSL) in developing a shared equity language and a set of tools and resources for library staff to use to build community-centered equitable summer services for youth, families, and communities.

As part of this work, OLIS and participating state library agencies are:

  • Engaging in equity-based co-design processes to reach a shared understanding and language related to this work.
  • Reviewing, discussing, and customizing materials developed as a part of the CLA/CSL project.
  • Co-designing training for library staff in pilot states on equity and summer services.
  • Recruiting public libraries, selected to represent a diversity of communities, to work with on equity in summer services planning and implementation.
  • Working with selected public library staff and supporting implementation - through coaching, mentoring, and a community of practice - of equity-based summer services.
Building Equity-Based summers Logo
Building Equity-Based Summers Logo

BEBS empowers libraries to create summer services that are built on a foundation of equity and designed with the community to ensure systemically marginalized groups engage in library services in new ways.

Our learning sessions cover strategies that have brought us the greatest traction in our own equity journeys.  These sessions represent the learnings of staff from libraries across the United States who came together several times in working sessions to learn from each other’s successes and challenges.

Learning sessions cover five key topics:

  • Why Equity?: Setting the Stage
  • The Whys of Summer
  • Letting Go of Tradition
  • Connecting with Community Voices
  • Summer Services Impact: What Does Success Look Like

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The first RI BEBS cohort included library staff from:

  • Community Libraries of Providence
  • Cranston Public Library
  • East Providence Public Library
  • North Providence Public Library
  • Providence Public Library
  • Tiverton Public Library
  • Westerly Library
  • West Warwick Public Library

Participants worked through four co-learning sessions January - April 2023 that focused on:

  • Why equity is important to summer library services and communities.
  • How to assess current summer services with an equity mindset.
  • How to begin to build equity-based summer services.
  • Ways to bring community voices into the design and decision making of equity-based summer services.
  • How to have conversations with community partners, stakeholders, and members about equity and equity-based summer services.

RI participants have been invited to a national cohort that is currently meeting monthly for continued learning and support.

The application for a second cohort will be available August 28 - September 22, 2023.

The application for the second BEBS cohort will open August 28, 2023 and a virtual information session will be held September 6 at 1pm.

Those selected to participate in the BEBS working group will take part in a series of eight, 1.5 hour virtual sessions on the following dates (times to be determined by participants):

  • October 12
  • October 26
  • November 30
  • December 14
  • January 4
  • January 18
  • February 1
  • February 15

Following the learning sessions, participants will be able to begin the design of equity-based summer services.  They will also be able to articulate the impact these services have on the community, specifically community members who are a part of systematically marginalized communities. Participants will be invited to join the national cohort for continued learning and support.

For any questions related to the BEBS initiative or this application please contact Applications must be submitted no later than September 22.

Information Session Slides

Submit an application

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.