PLA to offer regional symposia on equity, diversity, inclusion and social justice in libraries

For Immediate Release
Thu, 12/20/2018


Laurence Deutsch

Manager, Communications

Public Library Association (PLA)

CHICAGO – The Public Library Association (PLA) has released the schedule for its highly anticipated symposium on equity, diversity, inclusion and social justice (EDISJ). The symposium Social Justice and Public Libraries: Equity Starts with Us will be offered three times in 2019, in Denver, Colo., Charleston, S.C. and Chicago, Ill.

The dates and locations are as follows:

Feb. 25-26, 2019
Denver Public Library
10 W. Fourteenth Ave. Pkwy.
Denver, Colo. 80204

Aug. 12-13, 2019
Charleston County Public Library
68 Calhoun St.
Charleston, S.C. 29401

Oct. 28-29, 2019
Location TBA
Chicago, Ill.

The symposium will be led by Mia Henry, a facilitator and educator who teaches self-reflection, relationship-building, and understanding social movement history. Mia has served as Executive Director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice at Kalamazoo College and founder and principal of Freedom Lifted, which provides Civil Rights tours of the U.S. Deep South and social justice trainings through a historical lens. Members of the PLA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will also help guide each session.

Symposium participants will:

  • Build a shared understanding of core EDISJ concepts, including identity and privilege, institutionalized racism and oppression, solidarity, and liberation;
  • Increase self-awareness, develop strategies to address their own biases, and learn how to share this knowledge within their libraries and communities;
  • Develop regional connections to help them begin and sustain transformative work in their libraries and communities; and
  • Utilize case studies and equity tools to create an action plan for strengthening EDISJ practices in their libraries and communities.

“Equity, diversity, inclusion and social justice are core values of our organization,” explains PLA President Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne, PhD. “We’re proud to offer these regional symposia in 2019 to equip public library workers across the country with the information, resources and understanding needed to apply these values in their libraries and communities.”

Registration for each one-and-a-half-day symposium costs $150 for PLA personal members and $250 for non-members. Registration will be limited to 100 per session and attendance on both days (day 1: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., day 2: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) is required. Financial support may be available for a limited number of staff from small and rural libraries. For more information, including registration instructions and lodging options, please click here.

PLA's free on-demand webinar, Understanding Power, Identity, and Oppression in the Public Library, is an excellent primer for symposium participants or anyone else interested in understanding how power, identity and oppression can impact public libraries’ staff, services, programs, collections and spaces. Participants are also encouraged to download and review the Government Alliance on Race and Equity report, Advancing Racial Equity in Public Libraries: Case Studies from the Field. These preparatory materials are recommended, but not required.

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About PLA
The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 10,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext.5PLA, or