The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Local library starts a new chapter of diversity and inclusion

Daniela Cuadros
The event participants received a copy of the book Rocket Says Speak Up! to take home and read. The story inspires young students to stand up and peacefully protest for what they believe in within their communities.

Redwood City Public Libraries (RCPL) open their doors to cultural diversity and inclusion initiatives through Makerspace programs for kids and teens to unite the local community. 

RCPL administrators and library staff, including Jenny Barnes, the division manager of youth services and community engagement, work together to ideate culturally significant events for the community. The purpose of these events is to create cultural unity and educate young children about the importance of diversity. 

“We have a monthly event usually centered around different cultures to represent the diverse populations in our community,” Barnes said.

The community of Redwood City features a plethora of backgrounds and ethnicities, with 59% of the population made up of nonwhite racial groups such as Hispanic and Asian ethnic populations. For this reason, local programs that emphasize the importance of inclusion and understanding of diverse cultures have been significant to community members.

“We hear from our community that it’s nice to see themselves in our program,” Barnes said. 

Families with younger children are encouraged to participate in Makerspace events in which they can explore various cultures. The Makerspace program coordinators plan culturally-themed programs for young kids and teenagers to explore each month.

February’s theme featured craft activities associated with Black History Month and the upcoming Chinese New Year, including word searches, coloring activities, and mask crafts. 

The program prioritizes accessibility for anyone in the community. Lopez participates in library events frequently with her three children under 8. 

“We come to the library to check out books and DVDs and then also come to Makerspace activities, which take up a big part of our day,” Lopez said. “I like the program because it’s free, and it’s something for us to do outside of the house, and everything is already prepared for them.” 

Participating kids ages 3-8 are especially eager to partake in craft activities and learn about unique cultures.

“The best we can do is expose young people to different cultures, and children especially embrace everything,” Barnes said. 

In addition to activities during the event, the library encourages cultural exploration at home by providing them with take-home materials. 

“I picked crayons for kids to take home because this pack has a variety of skin tones which most crayon boxes don’t have, so that they can experiment and know it’s natural,” said Jan Pedden, a youth services librarian.

According to Pedden, cultural diversity should be organic among young children, which is why in addition to hosting culturally representative events, the library strives to mirror its book collection with the same diverse initiatives. 

“That’s a priority when ordering books, so there is a wide range of cultures that are represented in all of our literature,” Pedden said.

For this reason, Pedden chose the book “Rocket Says Speak Up!” for participants to take home and learn about speaking up in the face of adversity. 

Barnes hopes culturally diverse events will continue due to their positive impact on the community.

“People that attend our events say, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen my culture at a public performance; it made me feel great to see,'” Barnes said. 

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About the Contributor
Daniela Cuadros
Daniela Cuadros, Staff Writer
Daniela Cuadros (Class of 2026) is very excited to join the Scot Scoop Team! Daniela is passionate about learning and exploring her community's diverse stories and backgrounds and hopes to pursue this through this program. Outside of school, Daniela can be found behind the camera, leading service events as part of Key Club or on the track and trails for her school's running teams.

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