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October 12, 2012

ULM opens unique multicultural library

Today the College of Education & Human Development at the University of Louisiana at Monroe hosted a grand opening of the ULM Multicultural Library—the region’s only special collection of its kind.

Multicultural literature focuses on the histories, cultures, and contributions of diverse groups including ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious, economic, special needs, and gender, among others.

The library, a satellite of the main university library, is solely dedicated to multicultural literature and media for K-12 students, teacher candidates, and area teachers.

Students and educators can find unique books and media, such as the Harry Potter collection in various languages, award-winning collections, and cutting-edge documentaries about diversity.

Dr. Lynn Clark, director of DREAM (Developing Rigorous Experimental Academic Models), said multicultural literature benefits students, results in healthy self-esteem, and creates an acute awareness of negative stereotypes.

“Research indicates students benefit from reading literature that reflects their ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Such literature can help a student develop a healthy self-concept—one that is based on knowledge and a sense of pride in family background,” Clark said.

“Multicultural literature can help students understand their own cultural heritages and those of others—inside and outside of the classroom. By incorporating multicultural literature into the curriculum, parents and educators can expand students' awareness and decrease negative stereotyping of individuals.”

The Carmel Hill Education Fund pledged $25,000 to supply the multicultural library with books, which are part of the ULM Library system.

The library is also funded through a Louisiana Board of Regents enhancement grant, which was written by ULM education professors Dr. Lynn Clark and Dr. Ava Pugh. 

Several special guests representing Carmel Hill Education Fund will attend Friday’s grand opening of the new library

Dr. Judith Parker, director of the New York-based Carmel Hill Education Fund; Margie Godwin, Monroe director; and Allison Painich, Monroe project facilitator will participate.

The multicultural library is part of a larger entity—the College of Education & Human Development Culture Connection.

In addition to the multicultural library, the CEHD Culture Connection contains a social space for international students and culture-related events (I-Space), and a Video Production Studio where students may capture personal narratives and local culture.

More about the Carmel Hill Education Fund

Since 2006, Carmel Hill has provided funds for more than 100 ULM interns to participate in math and reading literacy interventions with local PK-12 students during the school day and during after school programs.

The Carmel Hill Education Fund, founded by Mr. William Ruane, strives to improve the educational road traveled by all children in this country.

He selected three sites in the United States to receive funding for reading and math programs: Harlem, New York; Monroe, Louisiana; and Denver, Colorado. The fund supports reading and math programs in these cities.

“The Carmel Hill Education Fund provides on-site teacher training, continual professional development, and enhancement of technology within each school,” said Monroe director Margie Godwin.

“When fully implemented, lower performing schools can improve student performance by as much as 45-50 percent.”

During the last eight years, the Carmel Hill Education Fund has transformed the literary landscape of Monroe.

Since 2004, the Carmel Hill Fund has purchased over $2 million in books and literacy assessments for Monroe City Schools, according to Godwin.

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