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Ekstrom Library

Barbara S. Miller Multicultural Children's Literature Collection : Home

Picture books

A young black girl holds an acoustic guitar toward the reader, she stands in front of a colorful brick wall
Young woman crushing orchids with mortar and pestle
Four drawings of advocates of justice on a lightly patriotic background.
Four drawings of advocates of justice on a lightly patriotic background.
Two children stand on top of a mountain wearing capes and holding a flag that reads
Six cartoon representations of famous Latina women
A child of mixed race contemplating, his towering orange curly hair covers three-fourth of the page
Six famous Muslim women standing in a group
Two black persons floating in water look toward the right into the distance
A snuggled black baby wearing a sunflower onesie is passed from one set of hands to another
Young buddha meditating in front of a lily pond with a frog on his shoulder
Children of various genders playing in front of a floral background

Middle grade and YA

Young black woman with lip piercing and overalls holds a paintbrush and smirks at the reader
Four people look disappointingly into the distance while the sun sets behind them and plants grow around them
Two young boys walk arm in arm under a glowing starry sky
A sandy foreground with clouds in the distance. An American flag image over the sand
A young woman in a snowy barbed wire enclosure looks behind her at another woman holding a musical instrument case.
Three girls of different races hug together in a pose for a photograph.
Young black boy floating in water with top of his head out of water
Tiny threaded beads making an image of a cattail, flowers, and the title
Colorful silhouette of woman with long hair
Smiling young black boy
Hilly background with sun rising
Native American with arms outstretched in a dancing position, with a beautifully embroidered cape

The Barbara S. Miller Multicultural Children's Literature Collection

“I always loved telling stories...My ‘thing’ were trying to get children to want to read. And the best way to accomplish that goal is to tell them a story.”

-Barbara Simmons Miller

Barbara Miller had a shining career as a librarian-educator. She served as Children’s Librarian at the Western Branch Library, and later the Coordinator of Children’s Services at the Louisville Free Public Library. She served on the faculty at Spalding University, Louisville Municipal College, the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. She was also well known as the “Storytelling Lady” on the popular local children’s television show, T-Bar V Ranch on WHAS television.

Barbara S Miller

Even after her official retirement in July 1978; Ms. Miller’s advocacy for children’s literacy and storytelling continued as well as her numerous accomplishments:

  • In 1979, she was one of four United States librarians who were delegates to the USSR to study library services for children in Moscow and Kiev.
  • She was an official observer at the White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services in 1979.
  • She was President of the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC), of the American Library Association (ALA) and the Kentucky Library Association.
  • She served on the committees for the Newberry and the Caldecott Children’s Book Awards.

She was a tireless volunteer and energetic civic leader, serving on more than ten different Boards including the J. B. Speed Art Museum, Kentucky Opera, Louisville Theatrical Association, African American Heritage Foundation and the Advisory Committee of the Louisville Free Public Library, to name but a few.

But Barbara Millers real legacy is in the people she touched through reading. In the words of Delinda Buie, a librarian at the University of Louisville Ekstrom Library:

When Barbara Simmons Miller became head of the Louisville Free Public Library Children's Department I was eight years old and well into reading my way through the children's section of the Crescent Hill branch. Mrs. Miller came as "The Story Lady" to visit our library and my younger brother plopped himself at her feet, but I stood in the back, trying to act sophisticated and literate.

Although our Louisville public schools, in theory, were integrated in 1959, the rest of our world was still highly segregated. Mrs. Miller was the first African American professional person I had ever met. And she was the sophisticated and literate person I aspired to be.

Ms. Miller was elegant. She sat, beautifully dressed, with ankles crossed and exquisite posture, amid a jumble of children. As she read aloud in her lovely modulated voice and precise diction, she turned the pages toward her audience. I wondered how she could see through the back of the book, and found myself opening my own eyes wide or forming my mouth into an "O" of astonishment along with her as the tale unfolded.

Barbara Simmons Miller enchanted children, inspiring us to become readers; and this one, at least, to become a librarian.

Using the Collection

The simplest way to look at the Collection is to browse it! It is located on the third level of the Ekstrom Library. There are several ways to browse the collection online, such as:

In our online catalog, WorldCat Discovery

  1. Do a search by author or title if you know them
  2. To see a long list of books
    1. Do a keyword search on Multicultural Children's Books
    2. Then sort them by University of Louisville Libraries, Format, title, author, or date of publication (see screen shot below).

Catalog children's lit directionsCatalog screenshot

Discover. Create. Succeed.