Mickie Thompson, Madelyn Confare, & Millie Bennett

Founded in 2021, DAYLO, or Diversity Awareness Youth Literacy Organization, is a student-led book club and community literacy service group fostering empathy and understanding through the power of story, with a growing number of chapters across South Carolina.

DAYLO was recently honored with a national commendation from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) at the recommendation of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians (SCASL), which was presented at an awards luncheon at the SCASL annual conference in Columbia on March 6. The award was accepted by Beaufort High School DAYLO alumna Millie Bennett, Madelyn Confare, and Mickie Thompson, and DAYLO’s mentors Claire Bennett and Jonathan Haupt. DAYLO also presented a conference session for educators on student engagement and pro-literacy community service.

As noted on the AASL commendation, “DAYLO is being recognized for helping defend the intellectual freedom of all South Carolina students by mobilizing young leaders to speak up for First Amendment rights….The mission of AASL is to empower leaders to transform teaching and learning. AASL works to ensure that all members of the school library field collaborate to connect learners with ideas and information and to prepare students for life-long learning, informed decision-making, a love of reading, and the use of information technologies. Please let us acknowledge and congratulate you for bringing educators a step closer in the shared responsibility of helping all children learn.”

DAYLO was first established at Beaufort High School in 2001 by Holland Perryman, then a high school junior. During the 2022-2023 school year, DAYLO student leaders Millie Bennett and Madelyn Confare from Beaufort High School; Elizabeth Foster, Patrick Good, and Pete Cooper from Beaufort Academy; and Isabella Troy Brazoban from Battery Creek High School spoke out in public comments at Beaufort County School Board meetings in response to two challenges against 97 books in district school libraries. The successful advocacy of DAYLO students led to additional advocacy opportunities regionally and nationally, and has since inspired the creation of new DAYLO chapters across South Carolina.

DAYLO’s student-led advocacy efforts have been profiled as front-page news stories in the Charleston Post and Courier and The Island News; in articles featured in Education Week, Book Riot, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal; and in national livestream discussions for the American Library Association, the Children’s Book Council, and the Kids Right to Read Network of the National Coalition Against Censorship.

To learn more about DAYLO’s pro-literacy community service outreach programs and continued advocacy for the right to read freely, please follow DAYLO on Instagram at www.instagram.com/daylo_reads or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DAYLO.reads.