Advancing IDEAs: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, 2022 September 20

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

Book bans and Salman Rushdie

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, who directs the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom, spoke with Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, host of the New York Public Radio station WNYC program The Takeaway on August 15, 2022. In “How Efforts to Ban Books Impact Public Libraries,” they talked about protecting libraries from book bans, how resources concerning race and sexuality have been particular targets of book banners, and the August 12 attack on Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie at the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York. Phil Morehart, who writes frequently about such topics as part of the ALA “I Love Libraries” initiative, wrote briefly about the Takeaway interview in “How Book Bans Impact Public Libraries” and suggested ways to protect the freedom to read. By the way, the Chautauqua Institution’s Smith Memorial Library (OCLC Symbol: 5XS) is one of the 38 member libraries of the Chautauqua-Cattauragus Library System (OCLC Symbol: VXU).

“The Futility of Information Literacy & EDI”

Former academic librarian Sofia Leung, currently “working at the intersection of academic libraries and social justice education,” writes “The Futility of Information Literacy & EDI: Toward What?“ in College and Research Libraries (Volume 83, Number 5, September 2022, pages 751-764). She compares the “one-shot information literacy session” with the “one-off EDI workshop,” finding them to be similarly “tools of settler colonialism and white supremacy.” Instead, Leung wants to open us to unaccustomed ways of being and of knowing. In particular, she suggests “Indigenous conceptions of knowledge, which center relationality, allowing us “to be in reciprocity and mutuality with one another, with our students, with the communities excluded from institutions.”

Accessibility workshop

Bloomfield Township (Michigan) Public Library (BTPL) (OCLC Symbol: EVX) will present the seventh biennial “Adaptive Umbrella: An Accessibility Workshop” on October 6, 2022, 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern. Disability rights activist Emily Ladau will talk about “Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally;” autistic librarian Adriana Lebrón White will speak on “Lived Experiences in Literature and the Importance of Authentic Disabled Perspectives;” and Head of Youth Services at BTPL, Jen Taggart, addresses “Accessibility Collection Development 101.” There will also be a panel discussion on “Accessibility in the Workplace.” The event is free and will be recorded and made available to those who have registered for two months after the workshop.

School libraries and intellectual freedom

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association,

As part of Banned Books Week 2022 (September 18 to 24), the Alabama School Library Association (ASLA) hosts its third annual webinar on intellectual freedom, September 21 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Dr. Shannon Oltmann, from the University of Kentucky School of Information Science (OCLC Symbol: LSK) in Lexington, will answers questions regarding school libraries and intellectual freedom. Dr. Oltmann wrote Practicing Intellectual Freedom in Libraries (2019) and edited The Fight against Book Bans: Perspectives from the Field (2023).

ACRL webcasts on DEIA and social justice

The Association of College and Research Libraries has made several recent webcasts available for no fee on the ACRL You Tube channel. Recorded on June 15, 2022, by ACRL’s University Library Section Professional Development Committee, “Introducing Conversations About Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility to Personnel at a Mid-Sized Academic Library” is an hour-long discussion among four white women librarians about how to create an environment conducive to DEIA progress. From May 16, 2022, the ACRL Education and Behavioral Sciences Section and Digital Scholarship Section session “Data Visualization for Social Justice” considers how the presentation of data can promote social justice.

Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity

The Joint American Library Association/Association of Research Libraries Building Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity Framework Task Force has released Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity: A Framework. It is intended to be both a theoretical and practical “guide for developing personal, organizational, institutional, and systems-level knowledge and understanding of the nature of racism and its many manifestations.” It is hoped that the framework will “provide the grounding needed to effect change in thinking, behavior, and practice that will lead to better outcomes for racialized and minoritized populations.”

Public library diversity study

The Public Library Association (PLA) has issued the second in a rotating series of three national surveys that delve into the roles, services, and resources of public libraries. Among other things, Public Library Staff and Diversity Report: Results from the 2021 PLA Annual Survey documents staff recruitment and retention efforts, EDI activities, and how staff roles are evolving. On October 4, 2022, 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, PLA will present a free participatory webinar on the results of the survey, as well as the challenges it poses.

“Ethical and Accessible Design in Libraries”

Lyndsay Wasko, a designer, illustrator, and online MLIS student at the University of Alberta (OCLC Symbol: UAC) in Edmonton, Canada, asks us to consider the interaction between design and library studies in her essay “Ethical and Accessible Design in Libraries” in Hack Library School. “At its core, design communicates through a hierarchy of information (sounds familiar right?) and strives to make the complex more digestible and memorable. As librarianship strives to improve information-seeking, it makes sense that these disciplines could and should cooperate.”

Middle school librarian stands up to censorship

Amanda Jones, a middle school librarian in Denham Springs, Louisiana, and president of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians, “exhausted with the insults hurled at educators and librarians over LGBTQ materials, has sued two men who have “accused her of advocating to keep ‘pornographic’ materials in the parish library’s kids’ section.” Tyler Kingkade of NBC News reports that “In rare move, school librarian fights back in court against conservative activists.” Jones addressed a meeting of the board of the Livingston Parish Library (OCLC Symbol: LVGSN) in July, condemning censorship, even when well-intentioned. One of the men being sued, Michael Lunsford is head of an activist group Citizens for a New Louisiana. He spoke at the same meeting and recounts it from his perspective in “Livingston Parish Library Update.” Kingkade writes about the accusations against Jones from Lunsford and the second man, Ryan Thames, who runs the Facebook page “Bayou State of Mind,” that followed the meeting.

Welcoming transgender librarians and users

The nonprofit Infopeople will present a free hour-long webinar, “Practicing Inclusion: Welcoming Transgender Customers and Colleagues,” on October 11, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. In the current political climate, the rights of transgender people are being challenged everywhere. Libraries want to welcome members of the transgender community, both as users and as colleagues. Beckett Czarnecki, the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Project Specialist for Denver Public Library (OCLC Symbol: DPL), will present the interactive webinar within a context of reframing gender to promote inclusion.

DEI audit using the ACRL Framework

After George Floyd’s murder in 2020, the University of the Pacific (OCLC Symbol: UOP), Stockton, California, undertook a diversity, equity, and inclusion audit of its book and musical score resources using the Association of College and Research Libraries‘ 2016 Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education as a basis. In “Student learning and engagement in a DEI collection audit: Applying the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy” (College and Research Libraries News, Volume 83, Number 8, September 2022, pages 335-340), Veronica A. Wells, Michele Gibney, and Mickel Paris write about the audit, the incorporation of the ACRL Framework into the audit process, and the impact of hiring student interns to conduct the audit.

Library accessibility

The Training Committee of the Library Accessibility Alliance (LAA) will present Stephanie Rosen, Accessibility Strategist and Librarian for Disability Studies at the University of Michigan Library (OCLC Symbol: EYM), in the webinar “Disability Access and Climate in Libraries” on September 29, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The session “will expand participants’ awareness of disability, learn to promote accessibility, and consider how to contribute to a positive climate through their beliefs, behaviors, and communications.” LAA grew out of the Library E-Resource Accessibility Group, formed in 2015 by the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) (OCLC Symbol: YNT). In 2019, BTAA and the Association of Southern Research Libraries (ASERL) jointly created LAA, which was expanded in 2021 by adding the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) and the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC) (OCLC Symbol: CAO). Registration for future webinars and videos of past presentations from LAA are available on its Events page.