Leaders of Change Share a Vision for the Future at Midwinter Diversity & Equity Session

For Immediate Release
Tue, 02/06/2018


Miguel Figueroa


Center for the Future of Libraries

American Library Association


Elizabeth Martinez and Binnie Tate Wilkin, two of the profession’s leading advocates for equitable library services, will lead the “Libraries Transform – Diversity & Equity” plenary session, Sunday morning February 11th from 8:30 – 10:00 am, at the Colorado Convention Center, Room 405/407. Part of the Symposium on the Future of Libraries at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, the diversity and equity session offers attendees a chance to consider our future roles in supporting a diverse and equitable society.  

Featured speakers Elizabeth Martinez and Binnie Tate Wilkin have worked together since meeting in Los Angeles and co-chaired the first ALA policy on diversity, “Equity at Issue,” in 1986 for ALA President E. J. Josey. Martinez and Wilkin will be joined by 2017-2018 ALA Spectrum Scholar Isabel Soto-Luna, Development Specialist at Pikes Peak Library District.

Elizabeth Martinez served as the Executive Director of the American Library, overseeing the creation of the Spectrum Scholarship Program and the Office for Information Technology Policy and securing $200 million in funding from Bill and Melinda Gates for the Libraries Online millennium initiative that brought information technology and training to public libraries in urban and rural locations. In Los Angeles, as library director, she opened the Richard J. Riordan Central Library and established the Foundation of the LAPL.  She built nine community libraries for Orange County (Calif.) Public Library; established the African American, American Indian, Asian Pacific, and Chicano Resource Centers for the County of Los Angeles Public Library; and led the revitalization of the Salinas (Calif.) Public Library, including overseeing the development of the Cesar Chavez Library. Elizabeth, with Dr. Amulfo Trejo, founded and organized REFORMA, The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, which now awards the Elizabeth Martinez Lifetime Achievement.   

During her multifaceted career, Binnie Tate Wilkin has been a writer, lecturer, librarian, and professional storyteller. As children’s specialist for the Los Angeles Public Library, she received national attention for her creative participation in that library’s federally funded outreach project. Binnie was one of the group who met with E. J. Josey to form the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and submitted the Caucus’ first Council resolution to be passed. Her expertise regarding inner-city services was sought by many ALA committees and city libraries. At the request of ALA Executive Director Elizabeth Martinez, Ms. Wilkin evaluated the ALA Office of Library Outreach Services, providing guidance for its future growth. Ms. Wilkin has been a full and part-time lecturer at library schools around the nation including UCLA, UC Berkley, and Columbia University and was the Los Angeles County Library System's Minority Services Coordinator. She has written numerous books and articles on the art of storytelling and the themes and depictions in children’s literature. Binnie Tate Wilkin continues to use her creative talents as a speaker and storyteller sharing African American history and culture with the public.

Isabel Soto-Luna is the Development Specialist for the Pikes Peak Library District, supporting donor relations, sponsorships, fundraising events, and social media for the Foundation. Soto-Luna is a 2017-2018 ALA Spectrum Scholar and her passion for working closely with the community is driven by a belief in social justice and responsibility to community and to each other. 

The Symposium on the Future of Libraries, organized by the ALA Center for the Future of Libraries, is included with 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits full registration. In addition to plenary sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in three days of sessions exploring the many futures for academic, public, school and special libraries.