Advancing Racial Equity in Your Library



Local and Regional Government Alliance on Race & Equity logo

Libraries strive to serve their communities with important services and programs, and they also contributed to our nation’s history of creating racial inequity by enforcing racialized laws. Although racial discrimination is illegal, many long-held library practices perpetuate racialized outcomes and maintain libraries as white spaces—often unintentionally.

This webinar, presented by the Race Forward Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), presented an overview of concepts and approaches libraries are using to reduce racial barriers in their work. Case examples from “Advancing Racial Equity in Public Libraries: Case Studies from the Field” shed light on ways that focusing on racial barriers is yielding improved service for all patrons and staff.

Originally presented October 10, 2018.

This free on-demand webinar is a primer for the PLA full-day Institute, “Advancing Racial Equity in Public Libraries: Normalizing, Organizing, and Operationalizing,” to be offered as part of the ALA Midwinter Meeting on January 25, 2019 in Seattle. Reduced early bird registration rates end October 24, 2018.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will:

  • Understand why it is critical for libraries to focus on race to improve equitable outcomes for all;
  • Learn about concepts and tools that support racial equity; and
  • Learn how libraries are applying racial equity concepts and tools to increase access and improve outcomes for patrons and staff of color, and serve all of us better.

Additional Resources

Who Should Attend

This free on-demand webinar is open to everyone interested in gaining a better understanding of racial equity work in public libraries. Registered or prospective attendees of the ALA Midwinter 2019 Institute, “Advancing Racial Equity in Public Libraries: Normalizing, Organizing, and Operationalizing,” are encouraged to attend this webinar.


Gordon F. GoodwinGordon F. Goodwin is the Government Alliance on Race and Equity Midwest Regional project manager at Race Forward. He has significant experience working with senior leadership teams to achieve mission and program alignment. His specialties include organizational strategy development, program delivery and impact, and governance and leadership. Gordon has worked for 30 years with and for foundations, community development organizations, and public-private sector consortia in metropolitan and rural settings. He has worked extensively with organizations that have formed collaborative efforts to advance their advocacy and public policy objectives—specifically, designing and facilitating working group meetings, trainings, governance discussions, and organizational strategic alliances. Gordon has contributed to poverty reduction and racial equity public policy efforts with PolicyLink, Northwest Area Foundation, WK Kellogg Foundation, Foundation for the Mid South, CFED, and the Aspen Institute.

Based in Saint Paul, MN, Gordon is married, a proud parent of two adult children, a caretaker for two small dogs, and repairs and rides motorcycles in his spare time

Andrew HarbisonAndrew Harbison is the assistant director of Collections and Access for the Seattle Public Library system, where he oversees Technical and Collection Services, Materials Distribution Services, and Circulation Services. Andrew also co-chairs the library’s Race and Social Justice Initiative Change Team, a cross-divisional, cross-classification internal committee charged with advocating for and facilitating equity-based analysis and outcomes.



This on-demand webinar is free and available 24/7 for your viewing convenience.

How to Register

No registration is required.

Tech Requirements

To playback this archived webinar you should have either the latest version of Flash running on your computer, or use a browser with native HTML5 support. Please use the most up-to-date version available of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer. A fast Internet connection and computer is recommended.

Credits or CEUs

PLA does not award credit hours, or CEUs, for its on-demand webinars and cannot verify participation.


If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).