March is Women’s History Month and while it will be a GRAND day when we no longer need special history months (or school bake sales or library book sales to raise money), in the meantime let’s be thankful for the Amelia Bloomer Project which highlights the best literature for ages 0-18 with significant feminist content. The list is a project of the Feminist Task Force, part of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of ALA. The list is an excellent starting point for your Women’s History Month displays and activities. (Full disclosure: I am a member of the Project and yes, it’s as awesome to be a part of as it sounds.)
Each year the Project highlights the best books which feature significant feminist content. You can find brochures for the most recent list here and the Project’s web site includes links to previous years’ lists. It’s a carefully curated list that ensures your library will purchase books that are high quality as well as feminist. The list reflects bell hooks’ call that “feminism is for everybody.”
Since January is almost over, it’s time to get ourselves in gear if we’re going to make this Women’s History Month something more than just a book display (book displays are fantastic and needed, but let’s do more!) Here are a few ideas:
- Have your TAB/teen volunteers/history students/those awesome people really into genealogy interview great women and girls in your community. Share the interviews via your web site, archives, exhibits (interactive if you can), and at events.
- Host a colors are for everybody event at your library. Provide teens with flair and dye (do that part in a parking lot or on grass, trust me) to create shirts that defy gender norms. Encourage storytime participants to wear their favorite colors. Discuss the idea that colors are for everyone and do a colors are for everyone parade around the library after you help them make awesome signs. You can also have large t-shirts in all colors available for kids to wear in the parade.
- Find a reason to dress little kids up in suffragette sashes.
- Host a teen program that encourages teens to discuss the gender issues that impact them. Provide sashes and have them make their version of a suffragette sash: what issue do they want to promote?
- Host a This is What a Feminist Looks Like photo booth. While maybe you can’t have FEMINIST in full lights for patrons to stand in front of, consider other options: Rosie the Riveter gear is cheap to come by or get your TAB to paint a FEMINIST backdrop on a sheet à la Beyoncé. Or just have signs printed up that say: This Is What a Feminist Looks Like. Have volunteers staff the booth a few strategic hours a week. Post the photos on your library’s social media (which can also get you more followers, natch.)
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make myself a Lumberjanes costume.