Posts Tagged ‘diversity’

Joint Conference of Librarians of Color

JCLCThe second Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC) was held on September 19-23 in Kansas City, MO.  For four days, more than 800 participants -from diverse groups of librarians, library staff, library supporters, and library administrators- explored issues, shared successful ideas, and discussed challenges of diversity in libraries.  It was great to be there for part of the conference.  As with any multi-track conference, at times it was hard to choose which session to attend :-( … a copy of the full program is available on the JCLC website.  The following is a short report of selected sessions I attended:

  • Perspectives on Academic Library Change, Culture and Future Leadership, by Jon Cawthorne, Theresa Byrd, and Tyrone Cannon. Central questions that the speakers asked were: if everything is electronic, why do we need the library? and how should a library look like in 2040?  To make it more interactive, they formed groups and gave us three possible scenarios and we had to choose the one we thought most likely to happen; however, three out of five groups (including mine) reported that the proposed scenarios are obsolete or with services that are already being implemented.  Many agreed that one characteristic of any type of future scenario will include a metric for assessing and demonstrating the value of services.
  • All Things Digital, a panel with Charles J. Henry & Jon Patrick Gant and moderated by Anthony D. Smith from IMLS. The panelists talked about projects like the Digital Public Library of America, Building Digital Communities: A Framework for Action, and Connect to Compete.  Although many of these project goals may not seem to have a direct impact on academic libraries right now; in the mid-long term, these types of projects can definitely help to better prepare future college students -particularly those students from underrepresented communities, which can subsequently support universities’ diversity/inclusion programs.
  • Diversity in the Special Collections Field: From Defining the Need to Providing Solutions, by Athena Jackson, Chella Vaidyanathan, and Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty. The speakers talked about the need for more diverse representation in a field where determining selection and providing access to rare, unique, and original materials are important.  They reported on their efforts to recruit librarians from underrepresented groups to consider joining this area of librarianship.  There were some interesting thoughts from this talk that we could have included in our manuscript -currently in review- on Digital Diversity.
  • The Need for Diversity Research in the Profession: A Collaborative Opportunity, by Karen Downing, Merve Fejzula, and Mark Winston. The presenters emphasized on the need for more diversity research in the profession -maybe something like what we see in Diversity Inc.  They also talked about the next steps for this type of work; I would agree that future research should include documentation of successful stories and demonstration of the positive effects of diversity in organizations.
  • Re-Branding Librarianship: Diversity Recruitment Practices from the Field, by Deena Smith, Emily Chan, Hannah Lee, Michelle McKinney, and Eura Szuwalski. They shared their experiences encouraging registration and use of the Knowledge Alliance website, which “re-brands” librarianship as a field of diverse individuals, and their work recruiting a diverse group of high school and college students to consider librarianship as a career option.  As part of this group, it’s always good to hear what has worked for others when talking to students about librarianship -for me, the goal is always about some students with a great set of technical/programming skills.

I was also part of two poster sessions:
Digital Diversity: Examples from Miami University Libraries, in this poster we provided an overview of selected examples of diversity-related online collections digitized by Miami University Libraries.  We also talked about the “research value and uniqueness” as two essential factors that help collection managers in selecting digitization projects that can support institutional goals such as expanding diversity.
Digital Diversity at Miami University Libraries

Minnesota Institute Reflections: Three Personal Stories, in this poster session we presented an overview of the MN Institute, discussed three personal experiences about the program’s impact in our professional activities, and provided a list of future leadership programs available for mid-career librarians.
MN Institute

Overall, JCLC was a great opportunity to see friends from the MN Institute & the iSchool as well as to meet and talk to new people.  Last but not least, hoping that there will be a 3rd JCLC in six years, I probably should start brainstorming some new/interesting projects for the next five years :-)


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My “busy” 2010 Summer

We often think of summer as a time to rest/relax and take some time off -well, this summer doesn’t seem to be like that :( -at least not for me.

One of my top priorities is to create a DSpace theme for a newspaper collection that we’re migrating into DSpace, it’s coming along and/but we just thought about a new possible addition to the project; that is, a mobile experiment using the so popular iPads -we’ll see how things go with that. Other recent activities include: a trip to ALA Annual, a two-days seminar on “Privileges and Allies” at Miami, and (next week) a one-week Institute at the University of Minnesota. Additionally, this month I officially started a two-years term as co-chair of the Technical and Digital Services Interest Group (TEDSIG) of the Academic Libraries Association of Ohio (ALAO).

Regarding ALA Annual, I just came back from Washington DC where I had a poster session “Re-Using Today’s Metadata for Tomorrow’s Research” where I talked about the web-customization we have implemented for our digital collections in the last two years. I had about 20 visitors and at least four extended conversations :) -I was also happily surprised to learn about a possible opportunity to convert my poster session into an article, I really hope we can work that out sometime this year.

Right after ALA, I attended a two-days seminar at the Marcum Conference Center; the topic was about Diversity and Inclusion and was facilitated by Frances Kendall.  At moments, the conversation got very -touching and reflective- and  made us (me) realized that we all have received some sort of privilege in our lives, but that also implies/means that we all have some sort of responsibility to give something back to society.  In the end, I was very happy to have initiated at least two (possible) collaborative works for the MUL’s Diversity Cluster.

…and next week, I’ll be heading up to Minneapolis for the 7th biannual Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians from Traditionally Underrepresented Groups.  It does sound like a “life-changing” experience, I do look forward to meeting a new crew of people interested in the future of libraries in higher education –see you there!

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LibGuides & Diversity

The MUL’s Diversity Cluster was part of a panel presentation at the 2010 Ohio Consortium of Multicultural Centers in Higher Education (OCMCHE) Conference -held on April 30 at Kent State University.

Two members of the Diversity Cluster along with three other librarians from the University of Toledo and Wright State University shared their experiences in using LibGuides to promote diversity programs and resources.  This presentation involved the audience in a discussion about future collaborations with multicultural centers on campus, especially for promoting events along with scholarly resources already available through the library system.

We believe our participation from a library community was a useful and unique addition to the OCMCHE conference and we hope to see more/new collaboration initiatives with other offices on campus in the future.

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This month (July 2009) started with a couple of changes in my “regular” DiVeRsItY world.

First, for two years I served as a member of the Library Diversity Cluster, now I’ve been asked to coordinate it.  In a recent meeting with our new members, we’ve agreed to explore other types of events to promote “diversity” among library staff as well as continue with some of the on going events -film screening & discussion and the African American Read-In.

Second, on July 8-10 I attended the 2009 Spectrum Institute sponsored by the ALA-Diversity Office.  It was a great opportunity to:

  • see -again- some former classmates, meet new people, and especially hear/talk/learn about successful diversity initiatives in the field of librarianship
  • expand an early idea of a research project “accessibility/usability of unique collections for users with physical disabilities”
  • meet with a couple of leaders of the Library & Information Technology Association (LITA) and the International Relations Round Table (IRRT)

…and speaking of diversity, here are some examples of how this topic has been part of my work in the last few months:

  • Freedom Summer, a new collection -grant funded- which aims to give scholars and students better access to materials about the civil rights movement of 1964.
  • Shakespeare collection, one of the most unique/diverse/popular collection, visitors are coming from all over the world -
  • Library Resources, I used to maintain a list of diversity-related resources on the cluster website, but now we’re planning to move it to a more robust system (libguides)
  • Library service, I’m co-leading a website team for the Freedom Summer National Conference to be held at Miami University in October 2009.
  • Volunteer work, in my spare time I’ve been working on a couple of flashcard projects for kids in elementary schools in rural Guatemala.

Anyhow, I enjoy working with the people and being -direct or indirectly- part of these diversity initiatives …look forward to keeping in touch with everyone!

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