I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Not You Typical Diversity Program Announcement

I am so excited to announce this program which I have been organizing for ARRT with Heather Booth. We wanted to have a program promoting why we need to consider diversity in everything we do at the library. We have been inspired by our colleagues like Robin Bradford, who is joining us via Skype. Robin eloquently and bluntly [yes you can be both at the same time, and that is why I love and admire her so much] discusses the need for diverse representation in library all the time. You can follow her on Twitter, or read this recent article where she clearly explains why diverse collections matter to all.

Also, locally, Skokie Public Library, home to presenter and ARRT Steering Committee member Annabelle Mortensen, is leading the way in implementing a whole library plan to serve their extremely diverse community. Annabelle and Mimosa Shah are going to share what that means in practice, why it is the natural thing for all libraries to do and how it is working---honestly.

Finally, last year, Heather saw Mikki Kendall speak and when we found out she lived in the Chicago area, Heather contacted her immediately to see if she would ever present for us. We just had to find a reason.

Heather and I took our inspiration from these female librarians and educators, who, unlike the two of us, live these issues from both a personal and professional position. Together, our goal is to give you something new. This is not going to be your typical diversity program as you can probably tell from the description below. We are going to be blunt, it might make you uncomfortable, but we don't care.

This program is our ENOUGH IS ENOUGH moment. Diversity in library collections is not a political issue; it is a people issue. It is a serving our communities issue. We are not paying lip service here. We are going to give you some tangible and authentic reasons why every single person, no matter your skin color, sexual orientation, political leanings, etc.... why every single person needs to be served by a library that serves all. Why ALL points of view, from all sides, benefit all.

This is a bigger issue than representation or buying for target audiences. This is about our mission as libraries- to provide a window to the world through access to materials. And last time I checked, the world is very diverse. And I know the world is not 80% white ladies like our profession, myself and Heather included there [see below].

We hope you can join us in Skokie on June 16th. Space is limited and the sign up info is below. We will be live Tweeting the event for those who cannot make it. We will also be advertising Robin's appearance at ALA later in the month to talk on a similar topic for RUSA.

Those of you in Illinois, we are also hoping to bring a version of this program to the ILA conference in October with updates from the Skokie team and 2 new panelists.

See below and keep reading RA for All for more on this topic in the months to come.
Click here to register. Space is limited!

Join us at the Skokie Public Library on Friday, June 16, from 10 a.m. to noon, for Dealing in Diversity: Proactively Serving Communities Through Authentic Representation.
Let’s lay out the facts: 80% of librarians are white women. Does your collection reflect your community or does it look more like you? What about the material in your programming and reader’s advisory practice? Join ARRT as we grapple with solutions to this touchy subject. Our panel of experts will share straight talk, real world experiences, and practical strategies for diversifying your library in meaningful, authentic ways.
Robin Bradford – Collection Development Librarian, Timberland Regional [WA] Library
Mikki Kendall – Writer, Diversity Consultant, and Occasional Feminist
Annabelle Mortensen – Access Services Manager, Skokie Public Library
Mimosa Shah – Adult Program Coordinator, Skokie Public Library

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