ALA President announces future EDI Efforts

For Immediate Release
Fri, 02/08/2019

Contact:

Macey Morales

Deputy Director

Communications and Marketing Office

mmorales@ala.org

CHICAGO - American Library Association (ALA) President Loida Garcia-Febo today unveiled a variety of tools for library workers to continue to embed Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) principles within the profession and communities at large.

“Libraries of all types are invaluable allies inspiring understanding and community healing as our profession and patrons work to understand our differences,” said Garcia-Febo. “This is a pivotal time for ALA members as we all work to transform the profession and our institutions through education and lifelong learning.

“Much like beloved library trailblazers as E. J. Josey, Sharad Karkhanis, Hwa-Wei Lee, Virginia Matthews, Lotsee Patterson, and Arnulfo Trejo—whose leadership resulted in ALA’s ethnic caucuses—our profession must continue to embrace opportunities to tackle complex issues that have a profound impact on our society and profession.   

“Like the library leaders who served before me, I stand on the shoulders of giants and continue the profession’s fight to create welcoming community spaces that reflect equality and respect of all people. Along with ALA and member leaders, we strive to identify and craft opportunities that will strengthen our profession and prepare library professionals to examine EDI.

“It is inspiring to work with the most diverse Executive Board in ALA history, as we continue our work to encourage EDI dialogue among members. ALA leadership, the Diversity Advisory Board, and the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) are working together to empower members with tools to address and recognize equity, diversity, inclusion, microaggressions, racism, genderism, ableism, and implicit/explicit bias, as we all work toward becoming allies in promoting and understanding our roles within a social justice framework.

 “As I announced during the Midwinter Conference & Exhibits, beginning in March ALA will provide new resources to continue conversations to understand our differences. Efforts include a video series on EDI featuring academic, public, and school professionals who will share EDI best practices.  

“I will join ALA staff and experts in leading webinars on microaggressions and cultural sensitivity, including racism, gender, and ableism, this spring. I also will lead a webinar featuring the  American Indian Library Association (AILA), the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking (REFORMA), and Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC) leadership who will share best practices, initiatives, history, and information on challenges that impact diverse library professionals and users.  Our professional affiliates will join staff efforts to curate resources that focus on topics relating to EDI and social justice.

“ODLOS will offer EDI and racial equality training during the ALA Annual Conference is Washington, D.C., including a session during Council I, and Council Orientation attendees also will have access to three sessions over the course of the event.

 “As a profession and association, we have come a long way in creating opportunities to share EDI best practices and resources, but we have a long road ahead of us.

“We will continue to support efforts to abolish intolerance and cultural invisibility, stand up for all members of the community, and promote understanding and inclusion through our work.

“ALA staff and leadership sincerely appreciate membership’s guidance, commitment, and continued support of efforts to create the association we want as part of the society we deserve.

“Our hope is that the tools and resources we build together will strengthen the profession and shape a more just future for all who take advantage of library services.”

President Garcia-Febo is working to build on existing ALA efforts in the areas of advocacy, wellness, international relations, racial profiling and diversity.  Garcia-Febo’s Diversity Advisory Board continue to build on various efforts including her American Libraries column, “Serving with Love,” her Midwinter 2019 President’s Program featuring Dr. Robin DiAngelo and her book “White Fragility,” and her program within the Symposium for the Future of Libraries, “A Native Perspective on Trauma: Bridging Past, Present, and Possibilities” with Dr. Wendy Peters.

ALA Divisions and ODLOS have developed a strategic approach to equity, diversity, and inclusion through a social justice lens. Efforts were launched with Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion recommendations that have guided work across the association since their release in 2016.  Details regarding past successes are available at:

EDI efforts from ALA and its Divisions include our participation on the National Day of Racial Healing, PLA’s Social Justice and Public Libraries regional symposiums, and ACRL’s blog series on EDI. All existing and future continued education on EDI is available online and forthcoming resources on understanding the social justice framework, microaggressions, implicit bias, and being an ally are underway.  

Trainings for ALA staff in the area of EDI are continuing, as well. Last Fall, ALA staff participated in the workshop “Beyond Diversity 101: Micro-inequities, Implicit Bias, and Moving Toward Equity” facilitated by Anne Phibbs, PhD, Strategic Diversity Initiatives. Dr. Phibbs provided a similar workshop as a sold-out pre-conference at the 2018 Annual Conference called “Everybody’s Everyday Work: Diversity and Inclusion Foundations.” Dr. Phibbs will be doing a second session in February for ALA management called “Leading on Equity: How Leaders Take Risks, Model Inclusion, and Share Vision.”

For additional information regarding ALA EDI efforts please visit ala.org/aboutala/offices/diversity/edi .