National Diversity in Libraries Conference 2016

In August 2016, I was fortunate to attend and present at the National Diversity in Libraries Conference in Los Angeles. It was a fantastic conference, as well as my first time in LA – so a very exciting trip!

Let’s start with the presentations I was part of. “Grow Your Community: An Exploration of Peer Mentoring for People of Color” was a panel/roundtable discussion hybrid (props to NDLC for being open to different formats). We discussed our experiences in peer mentoring groups and the lasting impacts and importance of these avenues for connecting with other people of color in the profession. My peer mentoring group started in 2014 at the Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians from Traditionally Underrepresented Groups. This was an intense week-long training program, and many of us are still very close to this day and continue to support each other. The other peer mentoring group discussed in the NDLC presentation was Librarians of Color LA, which is more of a grassroots group, rather than having started out from a formal program like the Minnesota Institute. I’m so glad I got to work with and learn from the LOC-LA ladies – none of whom I had met before we all teamed up for the presentation – as we got to compare and contrast our experiences, and share with people the need for various forms of peer mentoring for people of color.

I also co-presented a poster session, “Reading About Diversity: Developing and Reflecting on Inclusive Instructional Resources.” This was based on the work of the ACRL Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee, which in the past year has updated a bibliography of resources on library instruction for diverse populations. This isn’t a brand new resource, but we tried to make is more accessible by moving the list of resources from a static PDF document to a Zotero bibliography, in addition to reviewing the entire bibliography and adding new resources to it. It was rewarding to share the hard work of the committee, as well as to finally meet in person some of the people I had been working with remotely for a year or more!

I really appreciate the efforts of the conference organizers to create an inclusive environment. There was a detailed code of conduct, space on name badges for preferred pronouns, and badges were color-coded based on peoples’ preference for being photographed. I hope that other conferences take note and implement these things.

There were so many phenomenal presentations that I couldn’t even begin to cover them all. A colleague of mine also attended NDLC, and a few attended IFLA immediately afterwards. When we returned to work, there was a lot of interest in our experiences, so we put together a panel to share some of our main takeaways. For my part, I shared what I learned about inclusive makerspaces (since our library has a makerspace forthcoming), and touched on my thoughts about diversity standards, after having attended a few related presentations about professional standards.

For a more detailed account of my experience at the National Diversity in Libraries Conference, feel free to check out this Storify.

After the conference itself, I got to visit some of cousins of mine who I haven’t seen in…oh, about ten years! Spending some much needed time with family, no matter how brief, was so absolutely needed. It was a great trip all around.

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