For this activity I chose to explore and analyse the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature (NCACL) Cultural Diversity Database. I completed this by exploring the website and noting any key points. Having no prior knowledge about this website I was interested to find out more about how they came into existence and what service they provide.
The NCACL Cultural Diversity Database is a collection of children’s literature which focuses on the topic of cultural diversity within Australia. The database was established in 1974 by Lu Rees who was a strong advocate for children’s literature (NCACL, 2021). The aim of the database is to provide a convenient space where people can access a comprehensive collection of Australian cultural children’s literature. The database is considered a useful tool for teachers, librarians, parents, home schoolers or anyone in search of Australian cultural children’s literature. I found the database to be a very useful resource that is displayed well and very simple to use. The NCACL database makes it easy for users to select relevant resources because it gives detailed descriptions about the topic and plot of the story as well as lessons that can be taught using the book. This database does not include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources. The NCACL has created a separate database for these resources which can be found at this link: https://www.ncacl.org.au/atsi-resource/
This activity was very relevant to my professional practice because within a public library setting we provide access to a variety of culturally diverse resources and services. Cooke (2017) suggests that librarians exist as gatekeepers to a diverse range of services and resources and encourage equitable access to all people. The NCACL Cultural Diversity Database can be used to find resources to support the implementation of culturally diverse programs within public libraries. Alderman (2019) explains that the books within the database deal with the experiences of moving from one country to another and settling into Australia as well as topics such as cultural traditions, friendship, immigration, loss, refugees, war and racism. These books can be used to teach children about other cultures and how to show empathy and compassion for others.
Public libraries are perfectly positioned to foster our multicultural communities by sharing resources that build awareness and encourage diversity. Cooke (2017) agrees that resources should reflect the culturally diverse community and used to increase cultural awareness to embrace diversity and encourage open communication. Public libraries can build connections within the community by providing learning opportunities that will ensure people from all cultures feel welcome and teach young children to understand and accept other cultures. For example, Ipswich libraries are holding a Celebrate Africa event on the 27th of May at the Springfield Central Library to celebrate the African culture through storytelling, activities and a drumming workshop (Ipswich Libraries, 2021). These services are critical to ensure both adults and children are continuing to learn about other cultures and embracing diversity.
While completing this activity I realised that there are also many other free resources available that support cultural diversity which I was unaware of. I will continue to explore further and share these resources with my workplace so that our libraries continue to evolve within our culturally diverse society.
Alderman, B. (2019). The cultural diversity database (CDD) developed by the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature Inc (NCACL). Access, 33(2), 48-51. http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=05bcf479-fca2-4215-8599-e78773181144%40sessionmgr103&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=lih&AN=136903610
Cooke, N. A. (2017). Information services to diverse populations: developing culturally competent library professionals. Libraries Unlimited. http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/ebookviewer/ebook/bmxlYmtfXzE0MjA4MzlfX0FO0?sid=e9d34dd1-79c1-4fef-bb59-d7ff18ff412f@sessionmgr102&vid=0&format=EB&rid=1
Ipswich Libraries. (2021). Celebrate Africa. Ipswich City Council. https://ipswich.spydus.com/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/ENQ/WPAC/EVSESENQ?QRY=EVSCFLG%3A0%20%2B%20EVSEDTE%3A%22%3E=TODAY%22%20%2B%20(ESD01%5C%3C%20EVD03%5CCEL)&QRYTEXT=Events&SORTS=ESD.SDTE%5DESD.STIM&SEARCH_FORM=%2Fcgi-bin%2Fspydus.exe%2FMSGTRN%2FWPAC%2FEVENTS%3FHOMEPRMS%3DEVSESPARAMS&FORM_DESC=Events
National Centre for Australasian Children’s Literature [NCACL]. (2021). About NCACL. https://www.ncacl.org.au/homepage/about-ncacl/