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Special Interest Group Archive: EDI SIG 04/14/2021

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

April 14, 2021

The meeting was held on April 14, 2021 via Zoom. The facilitators were Tracy Dunstan and Morgan Strand of Nyack Public Library

notes from the meeting

  1. ALA Video 4.43 minutes


  2. What now? So many events have happened in the past year to put a spotlight on the need for greater diversity and inclusion. How have libraries responded?

    1. Solidarity after the death of George Floyd, the libraries put out statement

    2. Support from Black Librarian Caucus of ALA. Regularly put out statements of support. 

    3. Authors put out statements

    4. Librarians partake in protests

    5. Programs from the system level

    6. Diversity in the collections

    7. Families asking for diverse books at the library level

    8. People are trying to understand the differing experiences

    9. People seem to crave conversation with ANYBODY after they've been inside of their homes so much.  And conversation seems to be more personal and compassionate despite intermittent displays of anger or frustration


  1. How have we fallen short?

    1. Dr. Seuss--he fell short as to what he was supposed to be doing--he didn’t inspire youth with those books. Shock of cancel culture that has been brought to the forefront when we have been talking about it as a profession. 

    2. I appreciate the solidarity, and intersectionality = people are trying to understand there is no "common experience", and see how all of our experiences differ.

    3. Dr. Seuss blowback was surprising. Feeling so disconnected from the community as a whole despite having redoubled efforts at outreach

    4. School library journal cover 

    5. The lack of engagement in sessions as compared to last year.

    6. The people who attend EDI sessions are generally the ones who don’t necessarily need to “be here”

    7. People don’t seem to want to talk about it anymore.

    8. Suggestion from Carolyn: perhaps change the marketing of the SIG in order for there to be communication regarding SIGs.


  1. Teen Video 2:14


  2. Why should we work towards greater equality, diversity and inclusion in libraries?

    1. Seeing yourself (mirror book) is of great value

    2. Making it ok to read about different cultures

    3. If you're never exposed to different cultural experiences as a young person, you can't make your OWN decisions about how to respond.  You end up following the dictates of your local community - that's NOT critical thinking


  1. How do you get from diversity to inclusion?

    1. To tie into the last SIG discussion- Take a look at your meetings. “Who spoke? Who took the majority of the airtime? Who was checking their messages when a certain person was talking, and then started paying attention when someone else was talking? Who threw an idea at the table that wasn’t received as a great idea and then, 10 minutes later, who else put the same idea on the table and all of a sudden it’s an incredible idea? Who interrupted? Who was interrupted? Who did you not hear from? Who got invited to the meeting? Who didn’t get invited?” or how about a project? Who gets the credit and who is overlooked? 

      1. Tips to help with inclusion - change it up, interact with people you don’t usually interact with, pay attention to everyone while speaking, did you take credit for something you shouldn’t? Or undervalue someone’s work? Own up to it, or deflect the praise if it’s unearned. 

      2. (Source: )


        1. Sometimes the POC at the library are sometimes relied on to answer the questions about topics. 

        2. Has seen this in relation to gender. 

        3. People who are tapped to attend the diversity courses are POC. The person then is expected to come back and present on the information. 

  2. Breakout Rooms

    1. Without relying on BIPOC coworkers, what are ways you can better educate yourself on racially sensitive issues?

      1. Do your own research, sign up for webinars/workshops, read books and videos written or created in their own voices, attend programs about different cultures, do not “whitesplain”, as a question and be yourself, listen

    2. There’s an increase in Anti-Asian crimes. What have/ what can libraries do in response?

      1. Librarians Guild through AFSCME released a statement

      2. Put forth a statement, introduce cultures in story time settings

      3. Diversity book club--choose local authors and have books in their own voices

      4. Provide safe spaces

      5. Make it part of the every-day in incorporating information

    3.  What benefits result when an organization practices valuing diversity? Are benefits greater than costs involved?   

      1. Mandated implicit bias training city-wide (LA) 

      2. Project READY--equity and access for diverse youth. A lot of the training is watered down to not offend. 

      3. Benefits outweigh the costs. Open conversation, stronger relationships, wealth of ideas, connection & understanding, discover common ground with people

      4. Who is doing the work? Who is supporting people? Needs to be more than one person--it take a village to carry this. 

    4. You log into a zoom panel hosted by your library system and see an all white panel. How would you respond? How would you recommend a library programmer approach selecting speakers with equality, diversity and inclusion in mind? 

      1. Can be irritating and don’t want to be there. 

      2. Hijack the panel and discuss why this is an all-white panel and make this the topic.

      3. The people who need to go to the events are the ones who are not. The paradox: the people who need to hear this are 

      4. Emotional labor


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