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Inclusion in the book arts



Now that school is out, most of the book arts programs that I've been
associated with have been at public libraries.  I can't help noticing that
EVERY class has had no minority representation.

It's true, that in some upstate and New England communties where I've taught,
there are not many minorities.  But not always.   Recently, for example, I
gave two workshops at the Grinnell Library in Wappingers Falls, NY.  There
were 20 kids signed up for the morning workshop and 21 for the afternoon.
 Except for one child of Indian (from India) descent, there were no
minorities in the two classes.  Yet, when I went for a walk at lunch time, I
noticed that the neighborhood around the library was predominately
African-American and Hispanic.  This has been the pattern all summer, even
for the adult classes.

My philosophy is that everyone has a story to tell, so everyone is a
potential bookmaker.  It is very unsettling to realize that there is a
community loaded with stories, and therefore books, within footsteps of my
workshops that is not being reached.  Call me crazy, but as I walked that
neighborhood, I felt the books that were out there waiting to be made.

Of course, the local institution needs to be involved, but what I can do to
encourage broader participation?  This is a serious problem and any
suggestions you have to improve the situation would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.  Ed (Hutchins)


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