Statement on Diversity

LITA’s Statement on Diversity: 

LITA recognizes the challenge of defining diversity as an all-encompassing term. At the same time, as part of LITA's commitment to educate and support library communities within ALA and beyond, we recognize the strong need to craft language that names the identities comprising our broad membership and the societal constructs, positive or negative, each of those members face as they navigate the profession.

As such, this document provides two categories through which “diversity” can be explored: lenses that help to illustrate the identities that many LITA members, ALA members, and professional staff occupy and frameworks that affect the way those identities are constructed, performed, and embodied. These schemas will allow us to identify and better serve our community by grounding relevant programming, discourse, education, and professional development opportunities in this rhetoric. The frameworks can then be used to contextualize and potentially identify ways in which LITA might work to acknowledge them in programmatic efforts. 

The lenses through which identity-based diversity can be explored include, but are not limited to:

  • Categories of race, ethnicity, ability, religion, gender identities or lack thereof, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and/or class status.

In turn, LITA thrives on supporting its members via collaborative work and professional growth throughout the organization. We can explore lenses that relate to our shared work together, and the technologies we work with, in ways similar to the identity-based categories above:

  • Sharing a diversity of ideas, of thoughts, and of perspectives throughout the organization, etc.
  • Illuminating various modes of technological production, exploring user-interface design, investigating information organization and retrieval, revealing the algorithms at work in our systems, etc.

Frameworks that interact with these lenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Intersectionality
  • Privilege
  • Structural Oppression and Discrimination
  • Macro- and Micro-aggressions and potentially oppressive ideologies 
  • Globalism and Capitalism

This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of examples, but we hope they help you begin to tease out the many complex relationships at play here.

Understanding how these lenses and frameworks work in concert is key. An example of how these work together is using intersectionality to explain how someone experiences simultaneous, intersecting forms of racism and sexism, based on their racial and/or gender identity. Another example is using privilege as a framework to probe ways that user-interfaces favor able-bodied persons; this privilege is not something that able-bodied users specifically ask for, but that does not change the assumptions made when such systems are designed, or the resulting disadvantages disabled users face when attempting to navigate them.

This document is, and will continue to be, shaped by meaningful discourse on the topic; a collection of resources with definitions of the frameworks and suggestions for further reading is planned. In the meantime, we suggest the following resources to further explore the intersections between diversity, technology, and librarianship:

admin. 2009. “GLBTRT Bylaws & Mission Statement.” Text. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT). November 11. http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/about/bylaws.

“The Code4Lib Journal – Code as Code: Speculations on Diversity, Inequity, and Digital Women.” 2017. Accessed January 6. http://journal.code4lib.org/articles/10470.

“The Code4Lib Journal – Recognizing Cultural Diversity in Library Interface Development.” 2017. Accessed January 6. http://journal.code4lib.org/articles/10456.

“The Code4Lib Journal – Special Issue on Diversity in Library Technology.” 2017. Accessed January 6. http://journal.code4lib.org/issues/issues/issue28.