Advancing IDEAs: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, 2022 May 3

The following  post is one in a regular series on issues of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility, compiled by Jay Weitz.

Asian Pacific/Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, May 2022

In its website about Asian Pacific/Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, the United States Library of Congress notes that “Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and Easter Island).”  That covers a lot of ground, literally.

The month of May was chosen to honor Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States to commemorate two events of surpassing historical significance:  The first Japanese immigrants are said to have arrived in the United States on May 7, 1843; and the transcontinental railroad, the western portion of which was built in large part though the labor of Chinese immigrants, was completed on May 10, 1869. Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month became an official annual event in the United States in 1992.

OCLC Asia Pacific was founded as an OCLC division in 1986.  The first bibliographic records containing Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (CJK) characters were added to what is now WorldCat on May 12, 1986, using OCLC’s then brand new CJK350 cataloging system.  In April 1987, Kinokuniya Company began offering OCLC services to libraries in Japan.  Today, there are roughly 31.3 million WorldCat bibliographic records containing CJK scripts.  That count does not include the many other Asian scripts present in WorldCat, including but hardly limited to Gujarati, Khmer, Malayalam, Tamil, and Thai.

Under OCLC’s current governance structure, the Asia Pacific Regional Council (APRC) is one of the three regional councils that help connect members of the cooperative.  APRC “represents member libraries from the territory west of Hawaii, stretching from China, Korea, and Japan in the north to Australia and New Zealand in the south and Pakistan to the west.  APRC elects delegates to the Asia Pacific Executive Committee, five of whom also currently serve as delegates to Global Council.  APRC hosts an annual conference that is open to all members and interested parties, which provides a forum to discuss issues important to libraries in the region.”

The OCLC CJK Users Group was founded on April 10, 1991, serving such invaluable functions as facilitating communication between OCLC and CJK users, advising OCLC on products and services, promoting cooperation, and establishing and maintaining standards.

Founded in 1975, the Asian American Librarians Caucus, a discussion group of the American Library Association Office for Library Outreach Services (now the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services), evolved in 1980 into the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and became an official ALA affiliate in 1982.  Its purpose is to address the needs of both Asian Pacific American librarians and those who serve Asian Pacific American communities.  Each year, APALA honors works for children, young adults, and adults “about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic merit” with the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. For Asian Pacific/Pacific Islander American Heritage Month in 2020, ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Blog made available Fighting Anti-Asian Racism:  Tools for Libraries in response to the already serious problem.  In addition to advice about library displays and collection development, youth services librarian Lisa Rand refers readers to archived APALA webinars on related topics.

Decolonizing archives

Through her perspective as a Narragansett/Niantic woman, Tomaquag Museum Executive Director Lorén Spears will speak about “the process of decolonizing archives, telling our stories through the archival belongings, understanding access and power structures, and how to build meaningful collaborations across sectors to ensure the complete history is shared.” The University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (OCLC Symbol: RIL) presents the fifth in its “Voices for Information Equity” series on May 5, 2022, at 12 noon Eastern time: “Tomaquag Museum: Decolonizing Archives, Telling our Stories, and Building Collaborations.”

EDI Assembly lightning talks

Five lightning talks on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, recorded on March 28, 2022, at the American Library Association EDI Assembly, are now freely available.

The recordings, resources, and other materials from this and several past ALA EDI Assembly meetings are available on the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Assembly 2021-2022 page.

Antidote to book challenges

Photo by Freddy Kearney on Unsplash

Standing up to book bans that have been spreading around the United States, such institutions as the New York Public Library (OCLC Symbol: NYP) and the Brooklyn Public Library (OCLC Symbol: BKL) have been creating or expanding programs to make challenged resources available to readers. New York Public’s Books for All program gives free access to readers throughout the United States to challenged books through its app SimplyE. Brooklyn Public’s Books Unbanned program gives access to readers aged 13 to 21 a free National Teen BPL eCard. BPL President and CEO Linda E. Johnson says that the library “cannot sit idly by while books rejected by a few are removed from the library shelves for all.”

IFLA reports on global cultural rights

The April 2022 issue of the IFLA Newsletter (Volume 2, Number 4) reports on policy, advocacy, sustainable development, and media literacy, including:

There is also a report on the United Nations’ Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development and an announcement of an upcoming webinar on climate equity.