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Special Interest Group Meeting Notes: EDI SIG 06/09/2022

Notes from the most recent meetings of special interest groups at Southeastern


Jun 9, 2022 | southeastern EDI SIG


Facilitator: Beth Zambito, Finkelstein Library


Intro: Please be respectful, everyone!

Ice breaker: grab an item that is unique to you, and share its story or its meaning to you.


Today’s topic: Practical applications in the library of EDI best practices.

  • Question: How do you start building an EDI program in your library?  Or, how do you intend to start?

    • Get the lay of the land.  Understand issues, policies, board of trustees efforts/goals, the workplace culture, political landscape, etc.  NOT that you have to “keep” this culture but it’s good to understand the underlying structures.

    • RCLS created the Coalition for Library Workers of Color and built and offered programs through this. Offering a pilot program/course entitled “Culturally Responsive Libraries”.  Staff are taking & offering to member libraries.  Internal reflection, and working on outreach efforts

    • other staff training & education

    • patron base - trying to reflect the community’s diversity

    • diversity audits of collections

    • programming that promotes diversity

    • reviewing library policies + creating EDI policies

    • hiring practices, how to hire/retain more diverse staff?  is it welcoming?

    • diversifying library boards of trustees 

    • Library collection management ideas: 

      • labeling books (e.g. homosexual content): the pros and the cons! 

      • some people love book labels, but they aren’t always welcome for various reasons

      • ask your community what they think of content labels?

      • theme displays of books & other library materials

      • For consideration: are librarians concerned about offending people?


  • Question: Have you had an interpersonal conflict with a co-worker that may have stemmed from your intrinsic differences, such as race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or social class? How were you able to come to a successful resolution to this issue?

    • some things just cannot be resolved… 

    • From HR perspective - meet with the person making the allegation.  Any witnesses?  Last person interviewed was the person the allegation was made against.  Many times it was “he said/she said” - then get into credibility issue.


  • Question: Describe a successful resolution to this example between the new manager and an experienced staff member

    • Bring people together to work collaboratively.  Getting people involved TOGETHER on some issue sometimes works. Helping people coexist peacefully may be enough.

    • Mediation.  It does not work unless both parties are agreeable.  Ground rules must be established.  Communities, counties, and regions have trained mediators and also training for those who want to become mediators.  


Other shared resources


Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065