Empowering Diverse Voices

A Diversity Leadership Initiative of 2011-2012 ALA President Molly Raphael

Molly Raphael

"Our libraries and profession will be greatly enhanced by the increasing inclusion of staff from diverse backgrounds that the Spectrum Scholars Program and other initiatives contribute.  My presidential initiative, “Empowering Diverse Voices”, seeks to expand and enhance leadership development opportunities for our more diverse workforce, ensuring that the library leaders of tomorrow, at all levels and in all types of libraries, are as diverse as communities we serve."
-Molly Raphael

Empowering Diverse Voices will feature several elements designed to enhance the leadership development opportunities available to ALA members and specifically seeks to provide opportunities to diverse members of the Association. 

The planned elements include:

Association Options Fair
One of the most essential steps towards leadership development is to know the leadership and involvement opportunities that are available to you.  The Association Options Fair, planned as an event at the Annual Conference, will provide new members with an opportunity to visit with Association, Division, Committee, and Roundtable representatives to discuss volunteer opportunities.  By shedding light on the many volunteer opportunities available throughout the Association, it is hoped that more members can benefit from the leadership opportunities and experiences available through involvement and that more member groups can benefit from the contributions of members. 
Member Coordinators:  Trevor Dawes, Circulation Services Director, Princeton University Library, and Holly Cole Okuhara, Professional Business Manager, Weber County Library System

Champion Connections
For many members, greater involvement in the association was spurred by the encouragement of a personal champion, an influential leader who took an interest in your early involvement and development.  Unlike a mentor who provides day-to-day guidance and development, a champion is someone who advocates on your behalf to other people, recommending you for appointment to committees or taskforces and elevating your profile within the larger association.  Champion Connections is planned as a Midwinter Meeting event where new leaders, those who have served on a committee but are looking for the next step towards leadership, can meet with established leaders within the association.  Through a “speed dating” approach, new leaders can match with established leaders who can advocate for their increased leadership development within the association.
Member Coordinators:  Rose Dawson, Director, Alexandria Library, and Dr. Mary Jo Venetis, Associate Library Director for Technical Services, University of Texas-Dallas Libraries

Leadership Series
Leadership is truly an ongoing educational process.  Through the 2011-2012 Presidential Year, a series of programs will be presented on leadership within the association and the intersection of diversity and leadership within the profession. 
Member Coordinators:  Dale K. McNeill, Director, Public Library Service, Queens Library, and Janice Welburn, Dean, Marquette University Raynor Memorial Libraries

Leadership Video Series
Much can be learned from the leaders who have come before us, especially those leaders from diverse backgrounds who have made diversity part of their strength.  In a series of video segments featuring established leaders from the profession, members will learn about leadership within the association and be inspired to take on new opportunities within the profession.
Member Coordinator:  Loida Garcia-Febo, Coordinator of Special Services, Queens Library

Building Bridges Across Mentoring Programs
Through its divisions, roundtables, and special initiatives, ALA has developed several opportunities for members to engage in mentoring and development programs.  In an effort to contribute towards enhancing the diversity within those programs and to build collaborative best practices for those programs, Building Bridges will compile a list of available mentoring programs and seek to strengthen our efforts in this important area of leadership development.
Member Coordinator:  Dr. Janine Golden, Assistant Professor, Texas Woman's University School of Library & Information Studies