Committee Spotlight - Diversity Committee

Diversity Committee

October 13, 2022

Charged with addressing issues in diversity, the ILA Diversity Committee works toward developing and recommending purposeful and actionable strategies to increase diversity within ILA. As part of the ILA Strategic Plan, diversity and inclusion in the library profession and association have been prioritized. As a result, we are committed to identifying, initiating, and promoting training and opportunities that support the diversity of services and staff within the library profession.

The Diversity Committee has long provided mentorship and support for Sylvia Murphy Williams Scholars/ALA Spectrum Scholars. In recognition of the barriers some groups face in education and employment opportunities within the library profession, the Diversity Committee seeks to expand its work in this area.

Building on the knowledge and experience we've gained in providing ongoing mentorship, we have identified strategies to improve our work in making the library profession more equitable. With careful evaluation of this key engagement effort, the mentorship program, in cooperation with the Students and New Professionals Forum, will now be open to individual members obtaining information science degrees, as well as new library professionals.

The Diversity Committee has been actively engaged in providing educational opportunities for librarians by promoting library training and addressing issues of diversity within the scope of the library profession. We seek to create intentional change that allows library staff to participate meaningfully in the library profession.

To educate library workers on issues in diversity, the Diversity Committee will once again host its yearly session, DiversiTEA, at the ILA Annual Conference. This year's DiversiTEA featured speaker will be Elaina Norlin. Norlin is the Professional Development DEI Coordinator for the Association of Southeastern Research Library, presenting "Can We Create Healthier, Productive, and Inclusive Workspaces?"

To build on this annual educational opportunity, we have strategically positioned ourselves to be able to foster authentic engagement and participation within the Illinois Library Association and the library profession through our growing social media footprint.

In early 2022, the committee formed DiversiTEA, an active Facebook group named for the informative, well-known session at the ILA Annual Conference. DiversiTEA was created to facilitate communication between marginalized groups within the library profession and allows for an open forum for the exchange of information and ideas in a private and welcoming environment.

Though there are many barriers to creating an environment that allows for diversity, equity, and inclusion, we endeavor to focus our efforts on mentoring and improving access to professional networks, public awareness, and identifying high-quality training and professional development opportunities within the library profession.

Illinois librarians, this is your opportunity to engage with committee members to actively work toward addressing issues of diversity in our libraries and improve your awareness and understanding. To be considered for membership, fill out a committee interest form today.


This committee spotlight was written by Lindsay Holbrook (Chicago Public Library), Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee.

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