November 26, 2020

Library as Publisher: Saint Paul, Minnesota Public Library Publishes Two Karen Language Children’s Books

Major kudos and congrats to the St. Paul Public Library!!!

From the City of St. Paul, MN:

Mayor Chris Coleman [recently] announced that the Saint Paul Public Library has curated and published two Karen language children’s books, the first to be published by a public library in the state.

Saint Paul is home to largest Karen population in the U.S.

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“This incredible project shows the Library’s strong commitment to being 21st century centers of learning, as well as leaders in equity across the city,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “Saint Paul has a long history of welcoming immigrants and promoting equity, and these storybooks are so much more than words on a page – they’re an opportunity for children in our community to learn and have bright, successful futures.”

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The library commissioned original texts from Saint Paul authors Win World and Saw Powder, as well as original color illustrations from children’s book illustrators Betsy LePlatt and Jingo de la Rosa, to create the books Elephant Huggy and The Hen and the Badger.

With the support of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library as well as Sandra Schloff, the authors and illustrators teamed up with librarians, educators and Karen community members to produce the two books in both Karen and English.

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Source: St. Paul Public Library

“Saint Paul is home to the largest and fastest-growing Karen population in the U.S., and before this project, we greatly lacked early literacy resources in the Karen language,” said Saint Paul Public Library Director Jane Eastwood. “We produced these books with the goal of creating an environment of learning and discovery for all residents that access our libraries.”

The Saint Paul Public Library will distribute the books to Karen organizations and school libraries, and will circulate them as print and e-books. In addition, the books will be available digitally through the Minnesota Reflections collection of the Minnesota Digital Library. In early 2016, they will be available for purchase on Amazon.com.

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The Karen is an ethnic group from the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, also known as Burma, and Thailand. They have long been subject to government persecution. Many lived in refugee camps before resettling in Minnesota, where there are approximately 6,500 Karen currently residing.

See Also: More from the St. Paul Public Library

Saint Paul Public Library produced these books because of the lack of children’s books in the Karen language to serve the city’s growing Karen population. The library saw an opportunity to develop materials to support Karen children’s early literacy and school success.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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