Empowering Diverse Librarianship
06 June 2023
For several years, the IFLA Library Services for Multicultural Populations (MCULTP) Section has been developing a satellite meeting to promote peer coaching and learning opportunities for library workers. This year our vision has come to fruition. The Section will host a satellite meeting on August 18, 2023, at the Dutch national centre of expertise and repository for research data, The Hague, The Netherlands.
The Satellite event, Empowering Diverse Librarianship, will present library workers with the tools to build, sustain, and strengthen a diverse and inclusive workplace through a variety of presentations and panel discussions. Instead of focusing on minority library workers, this programme is designed for all librarians. Cultural inclusivity in the workplace can be maintained through open dialogue and honest exchange of opinions. Exclusion in the workplace is not a challenge only minority workers face. Unconscious bias can happen to anyone. This Satellite aims to hold a forum for all library workers, to establish mutual understanding through hearing others’ voices.
MCULTP’s Standing Committee member, Dr. Theresa Byrd, Dean of the University Library, Helen K. and James S. Copley Library of the University of San Diego, spearheaded this programme, which will host many dynamic speakers and topics. From the programme:
In the context of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Byrd’s presentation will focus on culture’s role in building and maintaining culturally diverse and inclusive library work environments. It will examine how tradition, bias, privilege, and racism thwart the typical library organization’s quest to develop an inclusive environment. Concepts such as white and non–white styles, whiteness in libraries, microaggressions, and stereotype threats will be addressed. Dr. Byrd will equip minority librarians with tools to survive in organizations where they are othered. Through examples and strategies, non–minority librarians will also learn to manage their ethnocentric tendencies. All attendees will leave with ideas about how they can assist with enabling and sustaining diverse library organizations.
Library workers today have been tasked to be more informed and involved in data research, data access, and data analysis. Library workers from diaspora communities may be assigned to identify, build, and support data sets on such diaspora communities. However, data is not neutral. There is also a lack of data focusing on and representing diasporic communities authentically. How do we recognize and empower library workers to think about data, representation, and privilege in their work? Dr. Raymond Pun and Dr. Philip Schreur will explore critical concepts and practices in the library and information sciences field for library workers from diaspora communities and library non–minority workers to consider when engaging with data research in librarianship. Through information privilege, a critical librarianship concept that pertains to one’s ability to access information based on an individual’s status/power, the presentation will address how library workers can rethink data and information access and build on collective work in creating meaningful digital projects and services that are reflective of the communities and their experiences. Attendees will hear different examples and practices, and will understand the importance of culturally diverse resources to support research, empowerment, and engagement with diverse communities.
Information and communication practices influence the way a community or group with a cultural identity, interacts with a majority population, adapts and integrates with it. The Romanian diaspora (9.7 million people) is very dispersed in countries from all continents. The target group for our presentation consists of Romanians from the non–historical diaspora (the historical communities are living in the countries with a common border with Romania). Dr. Maria Micle will explore the characteristics of the Romanian diasporic community, from the point of view of information preferences and practices, especially from European countries, in order to observe which are the channels most accessed by Romanians to get information, keep in touch with its members and simultaneously adapt in host countries. At the same time, our goal is to highlight the place of the library as a cultural mediator in the process of preserving group identity / inclusion in the majority community, but also in the process of training media and information literacy skills. The presenter will share her research results about Romanians from the diaspora and libraries.
Building an inclusive organizational culture is crucial for creating a workplace where all employees feel valued and supported. An inclusive culture promotes diversity, equity, and belonging, which not only leads to higher employee engagement and job satisfaction but also results in better business outcomes. Inclusive workplaces attract and retain top talent, increase innovation and creativity, and foster a culture of respect and collaboration. By embracing diversity and creating a safe and supportive environment for all employees, organizations can improve productivity, build stronger relationships with customers and stakeholders, and contribute to a more equitable and just society. In this presentation, Trevor A. Dawes will discuss actions being taken at his library to create and maintain an inclusive culture.
The theme of librarians serving abroad and/or establishing careers in countries where they’re not native has not been extensively discussed in the literature, yet many LIS professionals have successfully transitioned into careers / roles as “international librarians”. This panel attempts to capture these experiences and will discuss both opportunities and challenges as well as coping strategies that could be used to mitigate the challenges. Examples will be drawn from panelists who have moved from developed countries to work in developing countries, as well as those who have moved from developing countries to work in developed countries. The discussion will reveal that as much as some similarities exist between these two scenarios, they can also be very different. The session will end with a brief discussion on international perspectives of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEIA) issues in libraries. The panel is moderated by Dr. Peggy Nzomo (USA), and includes Leslie Kuo ( Germany), Ani Petrak ( Czech Republic) and Lan Gao ( USA).
Please visit our satellite meeting event page for full details.
Chair, IFLA Library Services to Multicultural Populations Section