SUNY Canton’s Library Expands its Diversity Book Collection
From brightly illustrated children’s books to the latest award-winning fiction and non-fiction titles, the SUNY Canton Center for Diversities and Inclusion and the Early Childhood program are adding volumes to the book collection at the Southworth Library, a part of the college’s Learning Commons.
Between the spring of 2022 and this semester, the college added 145 new titles with a specific focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). All the new books are currently being showcased on the second floor of the building.
“We were very excited to launch a collection that celebrates the many different people both on our campus and in the world,” said Access Services Librarian Halie Kerns. “Our aim is to help everyone find a piece of themselves in the library and learn about other’s experiences in the process.”
Kerns added the library has had a longstanding goal of increasing diverse reading options and the current display allowed a full presentation of the titles, rather than having them tucked away in the general collection.
Associate Professor Emily Hamilton-Honey, Ph.D., said she and Director of Diversity Lashawanda Ingram contributed book suggestions. Both serve as the college’s co-chief diversity officers. “We frequently get calls from other SUNY schools asking to borrow titles through inter-library loan,” Hamilton-Honey said.
According to Early Childhood Professor Maureen P. Maiocco, Ed.D., the new books can help children understand and celebrate differences.
“When a parent or teacher are presented with questions derived from a young child's observations and natural curiosity, a high-quality book can offer a means for the teacher and child to engage in a story reading experience and discussion, creating a classroom of acceptance, tolerance, and celebration,” Maiocco said.
The college will continue growing the collection, which currently includes titles ranging from the celebrated American author Colson Whitehead, an assortment of books focused on gender and LGBTQ+ topics, in addition to Native American selections.
“A lot of the collection consists of new titles that no one else has been able to get in,” said Instruction and Outreach Librarian Leah M. Fitzgerald. “We encourage everyone to come check it out and we are welcoming suggestions from the campus community to help drive further growth.”
As Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs, SUNY Canton delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, management, and healthcare fields. It is home to the Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 23 online degree programs. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity esports and cheerleading.