Aisha Conner-Gaten named a 2018 LITA Emerging Leader
For Immediate Release
Library and Information Technology Association
Aisha Conner-Gaten, intersectional librarian, activist, and tech enthusiast working at the William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, has been selected as one of two LITA-sponsored Emerging Leaders for 2018.
ALA’s Emerging Leaders program enables newer library workers to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity. It kicks off with a day-long session during the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Afterward, it grows and develops in an online learning and networking environment for six months, culminating in a poster session presentation of the groups' work at the ALA Annual Conference. LITA is sponsoring two Emerging Leaders for 2018 thanks to donations from LITA members and supporters in celebration of our 50th anniversary.
Aisha is interested in emerging technologies, issues of equity and access in the library, and the role of librarians as social justice accomplices. Her commitment to fighting the white supremacy in our profession has led her to work with various ALA units, including the New Members Roundtable and Library Leadership & Management Association.
She is an avid supporter of new perspectives and opportunities for information workers seeking employment and volunteers with INALJ and a crowdsourced LIS Job Hunters Facebook group. Her current research is focused on her experiences as a new liaison to Women and Gender Studies, connecting and engaging students with tools to record oral history interviews. She is also working on collection strategies for new liaisons, specifically those that center non-white authors and creatives.
Recently Aisha took the lead on developing materials for her library’s staff development day to facilitate difficult discussions about accountability for inaccessible parts of the library and its resources, personal reflections on biases and differences, and the impact of microagressions and intolerance. She then followed up by asking for a signage task force, collaborating with facilities staff for better accessibility practices, and presenting colleagues with small ways they can promote inclusion as collection development liaisons. Having seen instruction librarians incorporate what they learned and reconsider policies based on inequities of access, she has vowed to “continue to collaborate and remind folks of the agency and impact they have as librarians and staff.”
Aisha’s experiences in activism mirror her leadership philosophy; showing what is possible by doing and then empowering others to do the same. She takes inspiration from an Alice Walker quote that she has used to guide her work: “Activism is my rent for living on the planet.”
Aisha earned a B.A. in Anthropology in 2010 and a M.S. in Library and Information Science in 2013, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
LITA is the leading organization reaching out across types of libraries to provide education and services for a broad membership of more than 2,500 system librarians, library administrators, library schools, vendors, and many others interested in leading edge technology and applications for librarians and information providers. For more information, visit the LITA website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and stay current on all things library tech through the LITA Blog.