Advancing IDEAs: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, 2023 April 18

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

Right to Read Day

"There's more to the story," National Library Week, April 23-29, 2023.
Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association,

Planned during 1957 and first observed in 1958, National Library Week has annually celebrated reading, the support of libraries, and the use of libraries. “There’s More to the Story” is the theme of this year’s week, April 23-29, 2023, going well beyond books to Libraries of Things, library programming, and the central role of libraries within their communities. This year, the Monday of National Library Week, April 24, 2023, is “Right to Read Day,” a call to action combating censorship in this time of growing and organized demands to ban books and other resources. On April 24, ALA will announce its list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2022. The Unite Against Book Bans campaign urges library advocates to check out and read a challenged book, plan to attend library and school board meetings, write to elected officials and local media, report censorship, join the campaign, and stay informed. One means of staying informed is to attend the free session “Protecting Free Expression and the Right to Read,” at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on April 24, sponsored by Unite Against Book Bans, ALA, PEN America, and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC). The virtual conversation is inspired by the new documentary about author and library advocate Judy Blume, Forever Judy Blume.

IFLA Guidelines for Library Services to Prisoners

The new Fourth Edition of the IFLA Guidelines for Library Services to Prisoners, edited by Jane Garner, Lecturer in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University (OCLC Symbol: ATLIS) in Australia, and Lisa Krolak, Chief Librarian of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in Germany, is now available. The document, a project of the Working Group on Prison Libraries of the IFLA Library Services to People with Special Needs Section, is intended to provide guidance for the development of library services to incarcerated persons of all types, regardless of the kind of facility. In addition to providing the context for such services within the structure of a prison, the guidelines also advise on management of both the library itself and its collection, the range of possible users within a facility, and appropriate programs and services.

LC Evaluation of Headings for Indigenous Peoples

On March 27, 2023, the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate of the Library of Congress (OCLC Symbol: DLC) announced what it calls a first step in its efforts to rectify incorrect and offensive subject headings for Indigenous peoples living in the United States and bordering countries. The brief statement, “Library of Congress Evaluation of Headings for Indigenous Peoples,” says that LC “is determined to do it correctly and with respect for Indigenous peoples, their customs, culture, and languages.” A staff member with the appropriate background and dedicated exclusively to the work will be hired to form and head an Indigenous Headings Consultants Group to advise LC “on possible new approaches to cataloging processes” as well as new and revised headings in consultation with Indigenous communities.

“Data Storytelling as Library Advocacy”

In these challenging times for libraries, it is more important than ever for advocates to be prepared to make cogent arguments for the overall library mission and relate memorable stories about why libraries matter. Dr. Kate McDowell, Associate Professor of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (OCLC Symbol: ILG), a specialist in storytelling as a tool for research, social justice, and information science, will deliver the Spring 2023 Augusta Baker Diversity Lecture on April 20, 2023, 4:00 p.m. Eastern. “Data Storytelling as Library Advocacy” grows out of her ongoing Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) project, Data Storytelling Toolkit for Librarians. All Augusta Baker programming is presented by the College of Information and Communications at the University of South Carolina (OCLC Symbol: SUC).

“The Lies of Executive Order 9066”

The Oregon Library Association (OLA) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Antiracism Committee presents the first episode of Season Two of its podcast, Overdue: Weeding Out Oppression in Libraries. The episode entitled “Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066” features filmmaker Jon Osaki of JJML Productions; Jenny Silbiger, State Law Librarian and Access to Justice Coordinator for the Hawaiʻi State Judiciary; and Lorraine Bannai, Professor Emerita and Director Emerita of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law (OCLC Symbol: W9L), talking about Osaki’s documentary of the same title and the role that libraries played in bringing those lies to light. Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, authorizing the forced evacuation of roughly 70,000 United States citizens of Japanese heritage and another 50,000 Japanese American non-citizens to internment camps. Osaki, Silbiger, and Bannai spoke with LaRee Dominguez, resources coordinator at Oregon’s Albany Public Library (OCLC Symbol: ABY) and Brittany Young, the Lane County law librarian in Eugene, Oregon, on 2023 March 16.

“Blindsided at Work”

As part of its Carterette Series Webinars, the Georgia Library Association will present “Blindsided at Work: One Strike and You’re Out” on May 3, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Elaina Norlin, Professional Development DEI Coordinator for the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) (OCLC Symbol: ASERL) will discuss the implicit and explicit policies used in some institutions to “marginalize, penalize, and push people out the door” and means of countering such practices with empathy, equity, and openness.

“Period Poverty”

Dr. Julie Chaya, Director of Community Health and Prevention Sciences at Richland Public Health in Ohio, defines “period poverty” as “a lack of access to resources as well as education related to menstrual health or periods. So, that can mean not having access to pads or tampons or having education about what periods are all about.” The Network of the National Library of MedicineNNLM Discovery” podcast “Period Poverty: A Story from Region 6” (that is, the Midwest United States, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) recounts how Richland Public Health, Ohio’s Mansfield/Richland County Public Library (MRCPL) (OCLC Symbol: OMN), and Columbus, Ohio, based pad and tampon dispenser company Aunt Flow cooperated to help make these vital products as freely available in bathrooms as are soap, paper towels, and toilet tissue. As Chris May, director of MRCPL put it, “Libraries are a great place for these dispensers because libraries are a place that people feel comfortable coming to. It’s a non-judgmental place to come to. It’s a place where you can find all sorts of resources. So this is just one more resource. Libraries are definitely evolving and we’re becoming more community centers. Health has really become an important part of what we do.” This accessibility is also an opportunity for the National Library of Medicine (OCLC Symbol: NLM) to help educate librarians on menstrual health equity, enabling them in turn to accurately inform library users on their menstrual health.

Health resources

Within the same information flow, the 2023 April 13 issue of ALA’s ReadAlert: A Booklist Newsletter includes several articles about health resources about reproductive justice and for youth. Barbara Alvarez, whose Library’s Guide to Sexual and Reproductive Health Information was featured in the 2023 March 21 “Advancing IDEAs,” contributes “Trade Secrets: A Reproductive Justice Approach to Readers’ Advisory.” Alvarez says that just because library users may not be explicitly asking for such resources, it may be more “Shame, stigma, and fear” keeping them from requesting information than any lack of need. “Reproductive Justice combines concepts surrounding reproductive health and social justice for a more inclusive, holistic approach to discussing reproductive health,” Alvarez writes. Booklist Senior Editor Ronny Khuri lists the “Top 10 Health & Wellness for Youth: 2023,” encompassing a range of both fiction and nonfiction titles dealing with mental and physical health issues for younger library users.

Supporting school librarians and students

Censorship and challenges to library programming are some of the issues sure to be considered during the upcoming ALA Connect Live program, Our Brave Communities: Embracing School Librarians on April 25. 2023, at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. ALA President Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada of California’s Palos Verdes Library District (OCLC Symbol: PVL) and American Association for School Librarians (AASL) President Kathy Lester of East Middle School (OCLC Symbol: MIPCC) in Plymouth, Michigan, will discuss supporting school librarians and students in these troubling times with:

Holocaust remembrance

For the first time since the pandemic, the national commemoration of the Holocaust, Days of Remembrance, will be live at the United States Capitol, Thursday, April 20, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern, and may be watched as it happens. U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt will be the keynote speaker. In addition to leading the annual observance, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) (OCLC Symbol: LHM), along with the nonprofit First Book, has curated the “2023 Holocaust Education High School Collection,” nine historically accurate and relevant books that eligible educators may request to increase students’ understanding of how and why the Holocaust happened.

Hiring people with disabilities

Inclusive Hiring Essentials: Foundational Steps for Recruiting, Employing and Retaining People with Disabilities,” on Thursday, April 20, 2023, 1:00-2:15 p.m. Eastern, is aimed at those who are responsible for hiring. The free webinar, hosted by Aspire Chicago, dedicated since 1960 to inclusivity for people with disabilities, will feature a keynote “Top Tips for Inviting Belonging” by Matthew Shapiro, founder of 6 Wheels Consulting. Shapiro will be followed by a panel discussion of business leaders involved in inclusion and diversity across various industries. Topics will include reaching a diverse talent pool, creating accessible experiences, and empowering employees with disabilities.

Women in printing history

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) (OCLC Symbol: GPO) presents the free webinar “History of Women in Printing Pre-1800: Leveraging Wikidata As a Discovery Tool” on May 5, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Rare Books Cataloging and Metadata Librarian Daniela Rovida of the University of Notre Dame Hesburgh Libraries (OCLC Symbol: IND) and Metadata Services Librarian Cindy Tian of the University of Notre Dame Kresge Law Library (OCLC Symbol: XND) will speak about their project to highlight women’s historical contributions to the printing industry, using Wikidata as a discovery tool to make previously hidden names and resources more accessible to researchers.

Diversity in Alabama libraries

The Alabama Library Association (ALLA) will present the free virtual event “Alabama Libraries: Celebrating and Serving Diverse Communities” on April 27, 2023, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern. The youngest and first Person of Color to be named as Alabama Poet Laureate, Ashley Jones will deliver the keynote on diversity in life and libraries. There will also be presentation and discussions about tribal libraries, academic libraries, the defense of diverse resources for youth, “Government Documents in the Time of the Civil Rights Movement,” the role of Alabama State University (OCLC Symbol: AMU) in civil rights history, and LGBTQ+ services in public libraries, in the day-long celebration “centering voices that have historically been and are currently being silenced.”

Women in Data Science

The Stanford University (OCLC Symbol: STF) Lane Medical Library (OCLC Symbol: CASUM) will present as part of the annual worldwide conference of Women in Data Science (WiDS), “Connecting Health and the Environment Through Data” on April 26, 2023, noon to 3:15 p.m. Eastern. Dr. Lisa Federer, Acting Director of the National Library of Medicine (OCLC Symbol: NLM) Office of Strategic Initiatives, will present the opening keynote “The Accidental Data Librarian: A Journey to Data Science.” WiDS co-founder and Executive Director of Stanford Medicine Biomedical Informatics Training Program, Karen Matthys will deliver the closing keynote “The Pipeline for Women in Data Science: Key Strategies with Social and Environmental Impact.”