The Importance of Identity, Acceptance and Expression in Storytelling for Library Communities
One of Story Box Library’s main priorities has always been the championing of stories and storytellers who represent the voices and experiences of people who have long been missing from children’s literature. We endeavour to support diversity and inclusivity in the stories we select, allowing children to see themselves and those other than themselves represented in our digital library. As noted by Dr Helen Adam, we know that children develop their sense of identity and perceptions of others from a very early age – as early as three months old.
Because of this, young children are particularly vulnerable to the messages they see and hear in books. Children need everyday story books with heroes and characters that reflect diverse backgrounds, whether that be neurodiversity, cultural diversity, disability representation or gender diversity. It is necessary for allowing children to develop an understanding of their own cultures, language and beliefs; for creating a sense of belonging for children from groups that have been historically marginalised or neglected; and also to serve as windows into the lives of others. SBL firmly believes in the power of reading to open our minds and hearts to experiences outside of our own. This has been the driving force behind our First Nation, Auslan and Rainbow Story Time collections.
In a recent ALIA discussion on current vendor challenges in the industry, challenges that are currently being faced on a global scale were explored. This has included: Requesting libraries removed books from library shelves Requesting councils ban certain books from libraries Going to media to protest about books in libraries Encouraging people to make books unavailable, by borrowing the books and not returning them, hiding books, destroying books Seeking books be classified under the Australian classification scheme Using threats and intimidation to library staff to remove books The books targeted have predominantly been books with LGBTQIA+ themes or authors, in particular, children’s books. Additionally, there have also been an increase in protests against LGBTQIA+ friendly events.
While libraries are facing these difficulties with their physical collections and events, SBL provides a solution in that its content is all online. Digital stories cannot be stolen from the collection or defaced, and despite objection, Story Box Library has never, and will never cater to requests for removal of content on these grounds. Dolly Diamond, our resident Rainbow storyteller, is one of our most popular storytellers, having read seven stories for Story Box Library. Her reading of My Unicorn Farts Glitter is one of SBL’s most played stories (ever!) with over 67,000 views.
Join SBL Founder and CEO, Nicole Brownlee and Dolly Diamond for a discussion on identity, acceptance and expression in storytelling, and raising your voice to support initiatives such as our Rainbow Story Time collection as part of our diverse offerings.
Foucer/CEO, Story Box Library
An experienced Children’s Bookseller, Teacher and Teacher/Librarian, with a Graduate Diploma in Children’s Literature, Nicole has also worked in publishing, collaborating with authors and illustrators at Allen & Unwin in Australia.
Story Box Library (SBL) is a trusted digital platform. An essential resource for educators, libraries and families, connecting the world of stories through storytelling.
Story Tools, a game changing creative writing toolkit for educators, is the latest offering from the SBL team.
Working to engage and excite the next generation of readers and storytellers continues to drive Nicole personally and professionally.
Originally from the UK, Dolly Diamond has had great success hosting and performing in live cabaret, media events, festivals, charity engagements and television programs across Australia. Dolly was awarded Artist of the Year at the inaugural GLOBE Community Awards in 2014, and was appointed Artistic Director of the 2017 Melbourne Cabaret Festival.