Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Libraries: Progress and Promise - speakers
Speaker: Miguel Figueroa - Amigos President and Chief Executive Officer - firstname.lastname@example.org
Session Time: 10:00 - 10:20 a.m. CST
Session Title: Welcome
Speaker Bio: Miguel Figueroa is President and CEO of Amigos Library Services. He has previously held positions with the American Library Association (Center for the Future of Libraries, Office for Diversity and Spectrum Scholarship Program, Office for Literacy and Outreach Services), the American Theological Library Association, New York University Medical Center, and Neal-Schuman Publishers. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona's Knowledge River Program, an initiative that examines library issues from Hispanic and Native American perspectives.
Keynote Speaker: Nicole Cooke - University of South Carolina - email@example.com
Session Time: 10:20 - 11:30 a.m. CST
Keynote Session Title: Opening Keynote: Re-Envisioning LIS: Activating Social Justice
Session Description: Social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are significant topics within the profession, but are they actually integrated into the fabric of library and information science? Among the areas that require particular understanding and dedication are our critical and pedagogical practices. "Decolonizing" or re-envisioning our profession requires looking outside of our discipline and Western norms to engage with diverse scholarship and perspectives to build a foundation for what a more equitable profession looks like.
Speaker Bio: Dr. Nicole A. Cooke is the Augusta Baker Endowed Chair and an Associate Professor at the School of Information Science, at the University of South Carolina. Her research and teaching interests include human information behavior, fake news consumption and resistance, critical cultural information studies, and diversity and social justice in librarianship.
Dr. Cooke was named a Mover & Shaker by Library Journal in 2007, she was awarded the 2016 ALA Equality Award, and she was presented with the 2017 ALA Achievement in Library Diversity Research Award, presented by the Office for Diversity and Literacy Outreach Services. She has also been honored as the Illinois Library Association's 2019 Intellectual Freedom Award winner in recognition of her work in combating online hate and bullying in LIS, and she was selected as the Association for Library and Information Science Education's 2019 Excellence in Teaching award winner.
Cooke has published numerous articles and book chapters. Her latest books are "Information Services to Diverse Populations" (Libraries Unlimited, 2016) and "Fake News and Alternative Facts: Information Literacy in a Post-truth Era" (ALA Editions. 2018).
Speaker: William Helman - Towson University - firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaker: Julia Caffrey-Hill - Towson University - email@example.com
Session Time: 11:45 - 12:30 p.m. CST
Session Title: Building and Living a Shared Culture of Accessibility
Session Description: Most people understand the importance of digital accessibility to the success of a library’s mission, but many librarians also worry about how a commitment to providing it will impact their work and budget. Access for all patrons, regardless of differing ability, is not only a legal requirement under Section 508, but is also an ethical imperative for an equitable, diverse, and inclusive library. Those requirements, though, often pose implementation barriers for administrators, librarians, and staff. It is our belief that by building a shared culture of accessibility we can better distribute the weight of those requirements, and together create an organization that more fully supports the academic success of all its patrons.
In this session, presenters share what has worked, what has not, and how they continue to collaborate with vendors, colleagues, and the University System of Maryland on what is next for building a more accessible library.
Speaker Bio: Julia Caffrey-Hill is the Web Services Librarian at Towson University. She received her M.L.I.S. from Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts and a B.A. in Anthropology and East Asian Studies from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. Her interests include advocating for accessible and inclusive user interfaces, promoting usability, and mentorship for women and underrepresented groups in technology and computer science.
Speaker Bio: William Helman is the Information Technology Librarian at Towson University. He received his M.L.I.S. from Simmons University, M.S.I.S from UMBC and B.A in Philosophy and Computing and Digital Technologies from the University of Notre Dame. Professionally he is interested in user centered technology, digital accessibility and labor issues in libraries. Unprofessionally he is interested in baking and D&D. He is also a chicken herder, a former beekeeper, and father to two precocious adventurers.
Speaker: Valerie Nye - Santa Fe Community College - firstname.lastname@example.org
Session Time: 11:45 - 12:30 p.m. CST
Session Title: Policies Written for Equity and Inclusion: A Shifting Landscape
Session Description: Policies communicate a library's values and support library activities. Policies help guide librarians with patron interactions, library spending and public programming. Ideally, all policies foster inclusion and support intellectual freedom. Librarians and library boards often work tirelessly on wording and structure to ensure the written intentions found in policies are clear and that patrons who interact with the library are treated fairly. However, may have unintended consequences and in the attempt of ensuring fairness, some policies may create unintentionally stifle intellectual freedom and create inequity and exclusion.
In his book, "How to Be an Anti-Racist", Dr. Ibram X. Kendi writes extensively about the power policies have in institutions and within systems. This book is a call to action, inviting us all to inspect; reevaluate; and when necessary, rewrite policies, as a way to create equity and an anti-racist society. In his book he writes, "There is no such thing a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups."
This presentation will call on librarians to review their library's policies as part of the essential professional work for equity, diversity and inclusion. In this session, Val Nye will use stories from her newly published book, "Intellectual Freedom Stories: From a Shifting Landscape” (ALA, 2020), to speak about ways libraries are reconsidering library policies and programming in regards to equity, diversity and inclusion. Participants will be asked to identify policies in their libraries that they want to review to address equity, diversity, and inclusion in their communities."
Speaker Bio: Valerie Nye is the Library Director at Santa Fe Community College, a position she has held for two years. She has worked in academic libraries, special libraries, archives and as a public library consultant. She is the editor of the newly published book, "Intellectual Freedom Stories: From a Shifting Landscape" ALA, 2020) and is currently serving on the Amigos Library Services board as secretary. Valerie holds a bachelor’s in English from Cornell College and MLIS. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Session Time: 11:45 - 12:30 p.m. CST
Session Title: From Coloring the Academic Landscape to Integral Players of the Community
Session Description: Despite the many efforts to diversify the profession, the library field has remained disproportionally white and librarians from underrepresented background continue to face a series of challenges. While it is important to study and address the issues affecting the continued lack of diversity of the profession, much can also be learned from examining the factors contributing to the persistence of underrepresented minority librarians. In this presentation, we will use our experiences at a liberal arts college to illustrate how minority librarians can leverage their multitudinous identities, interests, and passions to effect positive changes on predominantly white campuses while empowering themselves and persisting in the profession. Through our work as advisers and mentors to students, including international students and first-generation students, we have formed close and long-lasting relationships with them and become an integral part of their educational experience. Our involvement in campus-wide initiatives not only has allowed us to make a difference on our campus and extend our impact beyond the library, it has also increased our sense of belonging. We will conclude the presentation with a critique of libraries' traditional evaluation methods and argue that a more flexible and comprehensive process be put in place to recognize, support, and value the services of underrepresented minority librarians.
Speaker Bio: Lijuan Xu is the associate director of research and instructional services at Lafayette college. Lijuan has served on the college's climate study group and chaired its diversity committee. She has organized many programs, including the "What's in a name" series and how to enhance the experiences of students of Asian descent.
Speaker Bio: Ana Ramirez Luhrs is the Kirby Librarian at Lafayette College. A recipient of the college's Delta Upsilon Distinguished Mentoring and Teaching Award, Ana served as a Posse mentor from 2012 to 2020. She currently leads the college’s DACA/Undocu Ally team to support the campus's growing DACA and undocumented student community.
Speaker: Roxanne Dunn - Southeast Missouri State - email@example.com
Session Time: 1:30 - 2:15 p.m. CST
Session Title: Creating a Multitude of Legacies: African American Greek Organizations at Southeast Missouri State
Session Description: As the Special Collections & Archives Librarian at Southeast Missouri State (SEMO) for the past seven years, I have learned of and am acknowledging significant gaps in the historical record and archival collections that overlook African Americans' contributions to the campus and the region. In 2019, discussions with African American alumni and researchers with the archives department led to a targeted, focused collection development initiative to engage African American alums to collect materials from student groups. Along with the Dean of Kent library, the archives department planned and hosted an open house specifically for African American alums from Greek organizations during the Homecoming celebrations of 2019. This event was hugely successful with 40-50 alumni stopping by the to learn about archives and what materials could be donated. Significantly, three donations were made that day from two different African American sororities. This event was then followed up with the Archives partnering with the Department of History & Anthropology to sponsor an event for Black History Month (February) 2020. This event was aimed at current African American students on campus and was less successful than the homecoming event. This presentation will cover how to identify "holes" or "gaps" in archival collections, how social media was crucial in promoting these events, and what was successful and unsuccessful about each event. It will also cover how to brainstorm different ideas for engagement of underrepresented groups and how to begin to establish a relationship between these groups and archival repositories.
Speaker Bio: Roxanne Dunn, Special Collections & Archives Librarian at Kent Library, joined SEMO in July 2013 after graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a master's degree in library and information science. She also earned a master's degree in journalism from UIUC in 2005. At SEMO she provides research and instructional support to faculty, staff, students and the public. Roxanne regularly staffs the unit's reference desk and has been successfully expanding the archival instruction program across campus. She provides archival literacy sessions to multiple classes, including art history, freshmen seminar, and historic preservation and she greatly enjoys doing so.
Speaker: Amanda Ros - Texas A&M University - firstname.lastname@example.org
Session Time: 1:30 - 2:15 p.m. CST
Session Title: The Bias in Your Library's Catalog
Session Description: Cataloging and classification are critical to any library. Without them, finding materials would be impossible. However, there are biases that can result in patrons not getting the materials they need. Many libraries, especially academic and research libraries, use Library of Congress Subject Headings and Classification systems. For many years, the Library of Congress cataloged many of its books under the subject heading: "Illegal aliens." But then, on March 22, 2016, the library made a momentous decision, announcing that it was canceling the subject heading "Illegal aliens" in favor of "Noncitizens" and "Unauthorized immigration." However, the decision was overturned a few months later, when the House of Representatives ordered the library to continue using the term "illegal alien." They said they decided this to duplicate the language of federal laws written by Congress. This was the first time Congress ever intervened over a Library of Congress subject heading change. Even though many librarians and the American Library Association opposed Congress’s decision, "Illegal aliens" remains the authorized subject heading today. This presentation will illustrate some of the biases in subject headings, as well as some positive changes that have occurred over the years.
Speaker Bio: Amanda Ros received her MSLIS from Florida State University in 2006. She is the Coordinator of Monograph Copy Cataloging at Texas A&M University Libraries. Amanda's research and service focuses on the development of international cataloging standards and biases in library subject headings and classification systems. She has written an article about biases in subject headings that has been read over 43,000 times, shared on social media over 1,700 times, and was subsequently invited to be interviewed on the topic for inclusion in the curriculum of a Masters-level course on Cataloging at the University of Denver.
Session Time: 1:30 - 2:15 p.m. CST
Session Title: Advancing Racial Equity: Findings from a National Scan of Libraries
Session Description: Denver Public Library (DPL) recently received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to conduct a comprehensive research/assessment project using an equity framework to better understand effective strategies to reshape its workforce so it reflects the diversity of the community. Ultimately, the goal of Building a Pipeline of Community Connection project is to determine practical, effective models that libraries can implement to ensure that people from populations historically underrepresented in librarianship can join and grow in the field, with a supportive, inclusive institutional culture. This work is urgently needed, as the librarianship field has failed to equitably reflect the nation's increasing diversity and promote a truly racially inclusive institutional culture. This session will feature a summary of findings with recommendations and immediately actionable steps that libraries can take to increase the inclusivity of their work environment.
Speaker Bio: Ozy Aloziem is the Denver Public Library's first Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Manager. She is leading the Building A Pipeline of Community Connection, DPL's grant project examining equity in the library workforce funded by the IMLS. Ozy also serves as a racial equity & racial healing consultant for several organizations across the nation. Ozy received her MSW from the University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work, where, among several other prestigious awards, she was awarded the University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work's Jean Peart Sinnock award- the highest honor given to a graduating social work student, for her antiracist research and advocacy.
Speaker Bio: Avi is a Concentration Year student at University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. Avi currently interns at The Denver Public Library assisting Ozy Aloziem with the IMLS grant project and developing equitable practices amongst library staff. Previously, Avi worked in homelessness care, where he learned how essential the public library system was to supporting Denver's most at risk population. Avi believes that equity, diversity and inclusion work starts with inspecting our own positionality and privilege and always tries to bring humility and self-reflection into his work towards equity and justice.
Speaker: Tasha Bergson-Michelson - Castilleja School - email@example.com
Session Time: 2:30 - 3:15 p.m. CST
Session Title: News Databases: Diversity without Equity or Inclusion?
Session Description: How do historical news and current events databases reflect the diverse population of the United States? What is the impact of product development strategies that encourage segmenting of sources into a “core” collection and various “ethnic” add-ons?
A group of K-12 school librarians are applying the concept of the "diversity audit" to these types of news database products, in the hopes of identifying and/or pushing development of single-purchase database options that includes a truer representation of who we are as a nation. Preliminary investigation and personal work experience suggest that the “basic” products most schools can afford and access focus on historically white owned/historically white perspective news sources, while additional packages allow access to news sources from specific racial, ethnic, religious, or other personal identifier-perspective publications. Whether we consider the range of perspectives to which students have access, what it means for a considerable percentage of our younger generation not seeing themselves in their news databases, the inability to explore intersectionality within a single database, or that students with a larger menu of databases have to leave the “American” database and go to the "X Ethnic" database to explore our national experience, database purchasing and deployment procedures should interrogate the place of equity and inclusion in the current diversity-as-profit framework.
This session introduces our work product to date and asks participants to bring their own experiential perspectives to add to the discussion. Together we can start identify methods by which our many types of libraries, with all our different constraints and needs, can approach offering diverse, equitable, and inclusive current and historical news sources. We can question what changes are within our own power to make, and what we need to demand of our source providers.
Speaker Bio: Tasha Bergson-Michelson is the Instructional and Programming Librarian for Castilleja School in Palo Alto, California Since 1995, she has been exploring what makes for successful information literacy instruction in corporate, nonprofit, subscription and school libraries, and through after school programs and summer camps. Previously, Bergson-Michelson was the Search Educator at Google, where she wrote an extensive series of Search Education lesson plans, the Power Searching MOOCs and—most importantly—collaborated with other librarians around the world to explore the most effective ways of teaching research skills. Bergson-Michelson was designated a 2014 Mover & Shaker—Tech Leader by Library Journal.
Session Time: 2:30 - 3:15 p.m. CST
Session Title: Transgender Inclusion at Burnaby Public Library: Our Method for Success
Session Description: In August 2019, the Burnaby Public Library formed a Transgender Inclusion Working Group to identify barriers trans and nonbinary staff and patrons face in the library and to make recommendations to address these barriers. This group of seven was made up of clerical, administrative and librarian staff, with our two librarian presenters as the team’s co-leads. After naming 13 different problem areas, the group chose five goals to focus on for the year’s work. These five goals were: staff training, making our washrooms more welcoming, removing deadnames from patron records (a deadname is the name someone is given at birth that they do not wish to use in their daily life), recommending changes to our room booking policies and making the library visibly and explicitly welcoming to trans and non-binary patrons. Knowing that our goals could not be achieved by the seven of us alone, we have also encouraged staff in all areas of the organization to look at their work through a transgender inclusive lens in meetings and one-on-one conversations. While COVID has delayed some of our work, the group has been successful in installing "trans people welcome" signage on washrooms, changing the library practice of requiring government identification in order to get a library card with a legally recognized name on it and securing professional staff training around gender diversity to all staff. Some of the changes we have made to make the library more trans inclusive have had the added benefit of increasing equity, diversity and inclusion for other vulnerable groups, such as undocumented immigrants who may be uncomfortable or unable to provide legal identification. In this session, we will discuss the formation of the Transgender Inclusion Working Group, the successes of our first year, and the processes and supports we relied on to bring meaningful change to the library.
Speaker Bio: "Cristina Freire (she/her/hers) has been a teen librarian with the Burnaby Public Library for seven years. Cristina wants to build a world where our differences are appreciated and celebrated.
Speaker Bio: Ashley Dunne (she/her/hers) is a children's librarian with the Burnaby Public Library. In her spare time, she co-chairs American Library Association's Rainbow Roundtable News & Reviews Committee.
Session Time: 2:30 - 3:15 p.m. CST
Session Title: Building Equity by Infusing Contemplative Kindness: A Social Worker's and Librarian's Shared Journey
Session Description: In this presentation, a social worker and librarian will examine an insightful and innovative approach to library employee training, as well as reflect on their shared experience through the planning, implementing, and revising steps of the design process. They will articulate the actions taken in development of a training model which uses a social work simulation lab to provide library employees with the opportunity to practice de-escalation techniques instantaneously with community actors (or senior social work students) demonstrating a spectrum of authentic patron interactions. This training also involved experienced professionals, spanning librarianship and social work, providing immediate constructive feedback based on unobtrusive but comprehensive observations. In effect, this model teaches library employees to develop strategies derived from the social work profession, such as altering body language and verbal cues, active listening, setting clear boundaries, respecting needs and emotions, honoring a patrons right to self- determination, as well as debriefing.
The presentation will also integrate concepts of mental health awareness and self-care throughout, as indispensable aspects of effective de-escalation and inspiration for complementary training opportunities. Case studies implementing said companion concepts (including suicide prevention) will also be represented across the range of student, staff and faculty library employees, with observations on strategically aligning related trainings into a harmonized progress toward recognizing the debilitating stigmatization of mental health crises and crafting effective strategies to dismantle internalized biases and external barriers preventing library patrons (as well as staff) to access the resources they need to flourish. The goal of the training modules and the presentation rests not only in improvement of outcomes with library patrons in crisis but also in enhancement of the overall library environment through infusions of key components of interdisciplinary collaboration, inclusion, empathy and empowerment.
To this end, attendees will receive reflective best practices for application of techniques relevant across the library discipline, as well as recommendations for informing progressive modifications to library-specific safety policies and procedures, in addition to strategic planning and supervisory training curriculum. Next steps will also be provided, such as the creation and publication of training handbook(s), a teaching note and a research study to allow for sustainable replication both within and beyond the East Central University library. To increase interactivity, engaging PowerPoint presentations slides will be displayed, as well as a recording from a live demonstration of a simulation lab interaction, strategic polling questions and discussion opportunities.
Speaker Bio: Calantha Tillotson is the Instructional Services Librarian at ECU. In this capacity, she manages the library's instruction program, as well as all reference services, which involves coordinating training for all levels of library employees. She received her MLIS from the University of Oklahoma.
Speaker Bio: Dr. Amy Ward is the Social Work Program Director at ECU. She earned a doctorate of Social Work from the University of Southern California and is a licensed clinical social worker in Oklahoma. She also holds a trauma certification and has specialized in this area while working with traumatized children and families in the child welfare system.
Speaker: Jaimi Parker - University of North Texas - firstname.lastname@example.org
Session Time: 3:30 - 4:15 p.m. CST
Session Title: Promoting the UNT Special Collections LGBTQ Archive
Session Description: UNT Special Collections acquired the Resource Center Collection in 2012, forming the core of the LGBTQ Archive, which now contains nearly 40 individual collections, making it one of the largest LGBTQ archives in the Southwest. Because LGBTQ history has historically been hidden, it was important for Special Collections and the Dallas LGBTQ community that these collections be shared widely, through digitization efforts, exhibits, events, and social media. Presenting these collections through all of these means has helped increase scholarly research using the LGBTQ Archive, helped Special Collections build relationships with the Dallas LGBTQ community, and has helped bring to light LGBTQ culture in the South.
Special Collections' experiences in sharing the LGBTQ Archive and partnering with community members have valuable takeaways. Special Collections partnered early on with Dallas LGBTQ community members and LGBTQ community archive organization The Dallas Way, to ensure correct description of the collections, to assist in collecting efforts, and to promote the collections. Since the inception of the LGBTQ Archive, Special Collections has curated 5 large exhibits (3 at Dallas City Hall), hosted or partnered for 8 events, and consistently promoted the collections through social media.
The rewards of this type of work are numerous, like forming strong connections with community organizations, expanding collections, and watching people discover that their history is important. But successes do not come without challenges. Questions arose over the years about potential fallouts that never happened, while trouble popped up in other forms that was never expected. For instance, issues of negative backlash on social media was an early concern, but this issue has only presented itself once in a mild format, but figuring out how to work with LGBTQ community members on how to address issues of sexism and racism in their history, when many people from the time are still living, was not something that was foreseen. The challenges faced and the connections made during the promotion of the LGBTQ Archive have been educational and eye opening to the type of work that could and should be done with types of diverse hidden collections.
Speaker Bio: Jaimi Parker is the Exhibits Coordinator for Special Collections at the University of North Texas Libraries. She graduated with her master's in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University, in 2016. As the Exhibits Coordinator, she curates multiple exhibits each year utilizing Special Collections materials, collaborates with outside partners to share local history, and assists with outreach programs for UNT Special Collections. Recently she has focused on sharing knowledge of exhibit creation techniques with other archives, and working with other exhibit professionals to advocate for this type of work in the field of libraries and archives.
Speaker: Berlin Loa - University of Arizona - email@example.com
Session Time: 3:30 - 4:15 p.m. CST
Session Title: Knowledge River 20 Years and Counting: The Future of EDI in LIS
Session Description: This session will include a brief history of Knowledge River (KR), its methods, and its outcomes as a model for recruiting, retaining, and leading a diverse library workplace as well as the next steps for KR. The conversation will include a brief glance at its precursor (GLISA), partners that have worked with KR to achieve program goals in the last 19 years, methods for success, and profiles of where KR graduates are now. We will also share and discuss statistics on past enrollment and future goals. The Knowledge River program, which has historically focused on Indigenous and Latino librarianship, will celebrate 20 years of success as a leader in EDI initiatives in 2021. As we welcome Cohort 20 to the University of Arizona School of Information with an expanded vision for the promise and progress of EDI in the field of information science, we look forward to continuing our strong local partnerships, building more national partnerships, and holding space for EDI in information management and librarianship.
Speaker Bio: Berlin Loa is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona School of Information and Program Manager at Knowledge River, a national exemplar in Library & Information Science diversity initiatives. Teaching critical approaches to cultural resource preservation and information science. Focusing on inclusive information and preservation practices in libraries, archives, and museums; combining non-Western perspectives with conventional frameworks; and the taskscape of placemaking and memory-keeping.
Session Time: 3:30 - 4:15 p.m. CST
Session Title: Checking Your Work: Using Diversity Audits to Make Collection Development Decisions
Session Description: Over the past year, staff at the Ames Public Library have done an extensive diversity audit of all materials used in storytimes as well as the beginning reader section. This session will explore what a diversity audit is, how we went about organizing, planning and collecting data, and what our outcomes were. Our main objective was to discover how well we are reflecting the diversity of our community in the books we are offering and promoting and we walked away with a much richer understanding of the publishing world, and the needs of our patrons.
By the end of this session attendees should gain an understanding that diversity audits don't need to be overwhelming or massively time consuming projects, but that they are valuable reflections of our own purchasing and selecting bias. Small steps can make a big difference towards a more inclusive and diverse collection.
Speaker Bio: After growing up shelving books in her mother's school library, Bri naturally gravitated towards a career in public librarianship. During her career, Bri has gotten to implement a move of her entire library – twice! – while the main building was renovated, coordinates a monthly outreach program to 100+ daycares and preschools, has partnered with numerous community organizations on amazing programs for kids, and loves weeding. Bri lives in central Iowa with her exuberant three kiddos and wonderful husband.
Speaker Bio: Kiki has been an asset to the Ames Public Library since she was a little girl. She grew up volunteering for all kinds of programs and tasks, and returned to the library as an intern after graduating college. She is currently working on her Master’s degree in library services and spends a lot of her free time taking care of a farm-full of amazing animals- lots of which have come to the library for special programs through the years.