I wanted to briefly talk to you about November themes you might be using this month and how you might want to rethink what has been used historically in the past. We are now passing through the Halloween season, a season that sees issues of cultural appropriation arise more frequently, and people become aware of the effects of their actions in dressing up and in turn mocking other cultures. This does not end with the month of October. November is Native American Heritage Month and includes the Thanksgiving holiday. Most Americans have no idea of the true meaning behind Thanksgiving, as they are often taught a very fairytale-like version in school. These images are stereotypical and carry messages of who or what Native Americans are supposed to be and enforces a false history.

Please take a look at your offerings this month with an inclusive lens. If you want to do something honoring the holiday, take the what-I’m-thankful approach, turkeys, or harvest imagery instead.

Know that we are all on this path of learning and growing together. If I can help in any way, I am happy to do so at any time.



  • Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities grant: ALA is currently accepting applications for another round of theirLibraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities grant.  Applications close December 11 and the grant is open to libraries serving small & rural communities (populations of 25,000 or less). It provides $10,000 or $20,000 towards a project that provides community engagement and accessibility resources to better serve people with disabilities.

  • ALA Committee on Library Advocacy releases Advocacy Action Plan Workbook: The downloadable workbook continues to be an adaptable guide engaging individuals and groups in library advocacy on any issue. Users will take actionable steps in creating an advocacy plan through areas such as community analysis, building a library ecosystem, goal setting and message development and delivery. Workbook activities also keep users focused on needs assessment, implementation steps and effective outreach for best results. Additionally, the workbook itself is a vehicle for documenting real-time advocacy efforts for evaluation and planning for next steps.

  • Grant Opportunity for Programs and Services centered on people living with Dementia: Applications are now being accepted for the third round of the Stephen T. Riedner Grant for Life Enhancing Library Programs for People Living with Dementia.  Two $2,500 grants are available for libraries that are planning new services/programming for their patrons living with dementia.  Just complete the simple application form and submit it by Feb. 23, 2024.  You do not need to be a member of the American Library Association or the RUSA subdivision to apply.

  • Prison Banned Books Week and new PEN report: as part of banned books week, PEN America released their latest report, “Reading between the bars”! on October 25th. A note from the report: “As PEN America has stated previously, book banning and restrictions on literature must be opposed because when society accepts the basic premise that ideas and information can be a threat, it opens the door toward the suppression of learning and information more broadly. As a free expression organization, we are adamant that this standard must also apply to prisons. Carceral censorship should be opposed not only for its effect on incarcerated people, but because the limiting of information people can access is inherently undemocratic. Yet, there is common a dangerous acceptance of this idea when it comes to incarceration, particularly when it comes to ideas and books deemed controversial, challenging, or even dangerous.”

Continuing Education:

  • Native Storytelling in Children’s Books – November 1, 1:30 pm Acclaimed authors Angeline Boulley and Cynthia Leitich Smith discuss Indigenous representation, craft, and the future of Indigenous kid lit, Moderated by Dr. Debbie Reese.

  • Wisconsin Talking Books & Braille Library: Services to patrons and public libraries – November 2, 10 am As part of a national network cooperating with the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) provides audiobooks and Braille materials to Wisconsin residents who cannot read or use regular print materials as a result of temporary or permanent visual or physical limitations.

  • Accessible Learning Spaces: A Guide to Implementing Universal Design in Early Childhood – November 7, 2 pm This edWebinar will empower you to unlock the potential of every child in your early learning environment. Prepare to transform your teaching and create a more inclusive, engaging, and effective environment. From designing flexible learning spaces to using technology to support diverse learners, you’ll discover practical strategies and tips for implementing UDL.

  • Book Banning In The U.S. And The Positive Impact Of Diverse Books: What New Data Tells Us – November 8, 5 pm During this free webinar, attendees will learn about newly released 2023 data on book banning from ALA, and a new study from First Book about the chilling effect that conversation around book bans are having on teacher morale and student learning – far beyond the areas directly facing book restrictions. First Book will also share the results of a separate study revealing the positive impact that diverse books have on student learning outcomes. As partners in Unite Against Book Bans, presenters will also share more about how to get involved in the fight to stop these dangerous efforts to curtail the freedom to read.

  • Building an Autism-Friendly Environment  – November 9, 10 am Popular group activities held at libraries can be an issue for autistic children who can easily become overwhelmed by the noise and activity of peers. Librarians and staff can become overwhelmed as well, when responses to sensory or social inaccessibility lead to what some people call “behaviors.”  In this presentation, we will discuss brain differences in autism and how these create unique sensory profiles which in turn determine responses to the environment.  You will learn about the sensory and social needs of autistic people and how to create an environment that promotes calmness and security, as well as how to prevent or respond to meltdowns. The presentation also includes book recommendations for all ages.

  • Gender Inclusive Libraries – November 14, 2 pm Learn about gender identity development and discover best practices for providing compassionate service to transgender, nonbinary, and other gender-nonconforming youth and their caregivers. Explore the need for these competencies in libraries, and how they apply to your youth-focused services and programs.

  • Naturally Inclusive: Engaging Children of All Abilities Outdoors – November 15, 1 pm Our summer reading program for 2024, Adventure Begins at Your Library, contains many programming ideas related to exploration of the natural world.  Dr. Ruth Wilson will cover how libraries can ensure they’re connecting young children with special needs to that natural world.  Ruth’s concepts can also be applied across multiple aspects of diversity and inclusion.

  • EDI 2.0: Individual Responsibility for Creating Belonging and Connection in the Library Profession – November 9, 2-5 pm We will explore the evolution of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) efforts within the library profession, focusing on how libraries can help to create belongingness and meaningful connection and what individuals, specifically, can do to help make change. This event will showcase strategies that libraries employ to cultivate and integrate into their services a profound sense of belongingness, as well as the ways that library leadership is crucial in fostering an environment of inclusion and meaningful connection.

  • Introduction to Plain Language – Thursday November 9, 1:00 pm
    Have you ever wanted to get your message across clearer and faster? Using plain language may be the answer! Plain language can make any type of writing more accessible, from emails and memos to reports and marketing materials. This virtual training introduces strategies for word choice, font selection, grammar use, user testing, and more that help us communicate quickly and effectively with both native and nonnative English speakers. Join us to learn how people across Wisconsin—and across the globe—rely on plain language to save time, money, work, and frustration by promoting better understanding and customer satisfaction. Registration link: https://uwmadison.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAsfuurqjsiGtTzHjTYb35QgqQosAevK-Jm

  • De-escalation and Recovery Webinar – December 14 at 1 pm
    Over the past several years, studies have begun to reveal significant trauma experienced by staff in public libraries due to aggressive patron behaviors, including verbal abuse, harassment, physical safety concerns, and drug and alcohol issues. To help address some of the challenges faced by library workers, this workshop will explore concepts of secondary traumatic stress (STS), burnout, and compassion fatigue and identify strategies to manage difficult work dynamics. Resources and tips on de-escalation, setting healthy boundaries, and engaging in ethical practice will be discussed. Finally, ideas on creating a supportive culture will be shared.
    Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lUnJqsL2TrGr4r2omGHfKQ


Diverse Holidays in November:

National Native American Heritage Month celebrates the diverse and rich culture, history, and traditions of Native people. The observance is also a time to educate anyone and everyone about the different tribes, raise awareness about the struggles native people faced as well as in the present. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November of 1990 National American Indian Heritage Month.

National Family Caregivers Month, proclaimed in 2012 by Former President Barack Obama. It honors the more than 40 million caregivers across the country who support aging parents, ill spouses or other loved ones with disabilities who remain at home.

National Military Family Month recognizes the commitment and dedication these families make to their service members. The Armed Services YMCA along with the U.S. Government established Military Family Month in 1996.

National Adoption Month raises awareness and increases outreach concerning the need for permanent families across the United States. President Clinton expanded the awareness week to the entire month of November in 1998.

National Alzheimer’s Disease Month shines a spotlight on the most common form of dementia. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

November 1: All Saints’ Day, a Christian holiday commemorating all known and unknown Christian saints.

Karaka Chaturthi, is a festival celebrated by Hindu women of Northern and Western India on the fourth day after Purnima (a full moon) in the month of Kartika. Karaka Chaturthi is a social time to celebrate after the harvest. It started out as a time to honor friendships with brides and their god-friends or god-sisters.

November 2: All Souls’ Day, a Christian holiday commemorating all faithful Christians who are now dead. In the Mexican tradition, the holiday is celebrated as Dia de los Muertos (October 31- November 2), which is a time of remembrance for dead ancestors and a celebration of the continuity of life.

November 4: Lhabab Duchen is a festival observing the descent ofBuddha from heaven to earth.

November 6: International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. On November 6th every year, the UN observes the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. The day seeks to make people aware of the consequences that war and conflict have on the environment.

November 9: World Freedom Day. In 2001, President George Bush proclaimed World Freedom Day on November 9th to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall. This historic event signified the end of communism in Central and Eastern Europe.

November 9-14: Diwali is a festival of lights and one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs. The festival usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika.

November 11: Veterans Day, a U.S. federal holiday honoring military veterans. The date is also celebrated as Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day, in other parts of the world and commemorates the ending of World War I in 1918.

November 15: Shichi-go-san celebrates the growth and well-being of young children.

Bhai Duj is a festival which is celebrated among Hindus of India, Nepal and other countries. Sisters invite their brothers to visit their place and prepare the beloved dishes for them. Sisters also pray to God for the well-being and longevity of their brothers against all the evils and bad fortune. In return, brothers follow their responsibilities of caring and loving their sisters.

November 19: International Men’s Day emphasizes the important issues affecting males, including health issues that affect males, improving the relations between genders, highlighting the importance of male role models and promoting gender equality. This holiday is celebrated in over 70 countries.

Chhath Puja is a Hindu Vedic festival It is dedicated to the Sun God (Surya Dev) and Chhathi (Shashti) Devi or Maiya (Mother) and celebrated twice every year.

November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance, established in 1998 to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of transphobia and to raise awareness of the continued violence endured by the transgender community.

November 23: Niinamesai is a harvest festival that gives thanks for a good crop yield.

Thanksgiving in the United States. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

November 24: Native American Heritage Day, held annually the Friday after Thanksgiving, encourages Americans of all backgrounds to observe and honor Native Americans through appropriate ceremonies and activities. The day was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2008.

November 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. On February 7, 2000, the UN officially designated November 25th as the International day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This day kicks off 16 days of activism, which ends on December 10th, Human Rights Day.

November 26: Day of the Covenant, a Baha’i holiday celebrating the appointment of Abdúl-Baha as the faith’s successor.

November 27: Guru Nanek Dev Ji’s birthday, an important Sikh holiday celebrating the founder of Sikhism.

Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha, a Baha’i holiday.

Sherry Machones (she/her)
Director – Northern Waters Library Service (NWLS)
Inclusive Services Consultant for NWLS and Wisconsin Valley Library Service