For today’s meeting, we spent some time discussing what we want to accomplish over the next 6 months as a group. We decided:
- We want to bring in visiting educators from BFSA (UT Black Faculty & Staff Association) and PEFSA (UT Pride & Equity Staff Association)
- We want to develop a model for annual leadership development in diversity in Libraries
We also discussed several readings in groups and reported out:
1) Joint Statement from the Presidents of AILA, APALA, BCALA, CALA, REFORMA, and ALA (Kristen, Ben, Praveen, Ann)
- In response to discriminatory enforcement and tragic events surrounding Florida’s Stand Your Ground Laws, ALA, which will hold it’s annual meeting in Orlando in 2016, drafted this joint statement which outlines initiatives for outreach and education in the local community to promote awareness and inclusion in addition to reinstating the organization’s commitment to equity and a just society.
- Our discussion included thoughts about the role white people play in collaborating with organizations and leaders of color when confronting these important issues.
- We brought up the wish to bring Eugenia Beh in as a guest speaker – she’s a former UT librarian and a current librarian at MIT, in addition to being a past president and current member-at-large of APALA (Asian Pacific American Librarians Association).
- Reading these standards made us all think about our own organizational culture and what it lacks in regard to diversity standards.
- It prompted us to think that we need more information about what’s out there on campus – what diversity efforts exist? What alliances can we build? How can we be proactive and not just comply?
- In the Libraries: What opportunities are there? We thought about accessible technology, ESL classes. We want to define the importance of cultural diversity competencies in the organization and how we can assess and implement them.
- We also discussed Debra’s master’s thesis on Latino/Latina engagement with libraries. Her study found that people are more likely to approach service desks in the library and ask questions when they see someone who looks like them at the desk. We recognize that this is a problem at our predominantly white service points.
- This document lays out how people should treat each other at ALA functions – which in oversimplified terms comes down to ‘be nice!’
- we talked about being aware of the perceptions of others – how we all need to know our own ‘privilege’ (someone mentioned a quiz on BuzzFeed about privilege). When we reflect on identity, we are often surprised. We also noted unintentional micro-aggression in librarianship.
- We want to compile a list of events and organizations on campus in order to identify common diversity issues on campus. We mentioned DDCE (Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at UT) and TexasTogether, a student organization that seeks to refocus attention away from Greek orgs on campus and towards initiatives that promote inclusion.
- We want to hold an ‘Intro to Diversity’ Workshop in the libraries. We discussed bringing in Ixchel Rosal or Betty Jeane Taylor. We want to get an idea of what strategies organizations and units on campus are using to promote diversity.
- We want to gather statistics about our student and staff population on campus.
- We want to research how other libraries and universities are approaching diversity – what can we learn? We mentioned talking to Mark Puente and Jody Gray. Perhaps we can develop an instructional program, maybe a webinar to which we can invite these individuals.
- What role do grass roots efforts play in leadership in an organizations?
- Leadership is a daily part of our jobs, whether we identify ourselves as leaders or supervisors or not.
- Our leadership roles are opportunities for modeling our attitude about organizational issues. This includes our interactions with iSchool GRAs where we define the library profession. We set the tone in how we treat people, events, etc. in our job.
- We also talked about our role in bringing creativity and innovation into the Libraries and how we need to make space for everyone’s voice and perspective.
- In regards to this SIG, we realize that we will need to re-evaluate leadership roles in the group and redefine them as we move forward. We decided that next March we will conduct and annual review and assess what worked and didn’t work.
- For now, the structure is that each meeting will have 2 co-facilitators. One co-facilitator will be a co-facilitator for the next meeting along with a new co-facilitator – this is a staggered and rotating model so that former conversations are discussed alongside new ones.