El Dia de los Ninos / el dia de los libros (Day of the Children/ Day of the books) is traditionally held on April 30 every year. Founded by Pat Mora (who is wonderful- if you EVER have a chance to hear her speak or have her come to your library, JUMP at it) it is a national day that celebrates every child, every family, and reading.
ALSC has a press kit and downloads that you can use for younger kids here, but just because a lot of things are aimed for that age group does NOT mean that you can’t do things for your tweens and teens as well.
Take a look at the cultures around your library and that your teens celebrate, and bring crafts celebrating that heritage into the library for a day or a week. Have a huge Caribbean culture? Tell stories about the Caribbean and Trinidad, and make steel drums. Have a huge Latino population? Figure out where their parents come from, and find crafts that match, or purchase duct tape in their heritage colors and let them make wallets to reflect their home countries.
Bring out playlists and CDs from all the cultures represented within not only your immediate area but your entire city. Libraries with even two locations can have completely different cultures surrounding them. Or better yet, create a contest and have teens bring their OWN playlists celebrating their culture- just make sure that you put in your guidelines that it has to match the library’s rules of language and appropriateness, no matter what language it’s in (yes, I learned this the hard way).
As teen specialists, we always talk about how food is a key to most programs- whether it’s pizza or chocolate or chips, if you feed them, you will have an audience. For this one day, think outside of the norm and safe, and hit up the specialty markets or best cuisine restaurants in your city and ask for food for a world buffet. Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian, BBQ, Tex-Mex- hit every single category you can think of to make sure everyone is included. Going in person is best, and explain exactly what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and that you’d be more than happy to give them advertising by having cards and other information available so that if the teens love their food they can bring that information home to their parents.
This is the PERFECT time to highlight the diversity of your collection. Make displays of fiction and biographies that celebrate ALL cultures, not just the majority. Stuck on where to start? Check out We Need Diverse Books, the 2015 LJ Mover and Shaker site that has resources for ALL cultures.