Enjoy the Children’s Diversity Collection

Off the Shelf


Mark Luetkehoelter, Librarian

A little-known special collection housed by the Madison College Libraries is the Betty Franklin-Hammonds Children’s Diversity Collection. The collection is currently housed at the South Campus Library, offering some 350 children’s books touching on a wide variety of diversity issues. The collection offers both fiction and non-fiction books.  

Established in 1999 by the Madison College Student Senate and dedicated in 2003, the mission of the collection is to promote the Madison College values of excellence, respect, and integrity by helping children learn about themselves and others through the diversity of cultures celebrated in books. The Student Senate has also generously provided many of the books in the collection.

The collection is named after Franklin-Hammonds, who died in April 1999. After getting her Master’s in Social Work from Florida State University, she moved to Madison for work and became very involved with community affairs. She was president of the Madison Urban League for eight years, and during that tenure one of her primary missions was the academic achievement of African American students. She was also editor of The Madison Times and a part-time instructor at UW-Madison’s School of Social Work.

While she was the chair of the NAACP’s Education Committee, she was very involved with the Madison Metropolitan School District’s efforts to close the academic achievement gap. Throughout all of the varied work she did, interwoven was a strong focus on children’s literacy and the sharing of a wide range of perspectives.

The collection contains not only a variety of stories from different ethnicities and different parts of the world, but also stories from different genders and people of different abilities.

A sampling of some of the titles in the collection include “The Librarian of Basra: a True Story from Iraq,” “Angkat: the Cambodian Cinderella,” “The International Cookbook for Kids,” “Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World,” “Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt,” and “My Diary from Here to There (Mi Diario de Aqui Hasta Alla),” and “Views From our Shoes: Growing Up With a Brother or Sister With Special Needs.”

The collection is searchable in our Worldcat Discovery catalog using the keyword phrase children’s diversity collection.