Thursday, October 9, 2008

ARL National Diversity in Libraries conference

From Rachel Stinehelfer:

I attended the ARL National Diversity in Libraries conference in Louisville, KY along with Jason Alston, Rosann Bazirjian, Anthony Chow, Gerald Holmes and Mary Krautter. UNCG was well represented! I enjoyed lots of the sessions at the conference and enjoyed even more getting to spend time with former and current colleagues and meeting new colleagues from all over.
While I think we can do lots more than what we are doing in the way of Diversity programming, I walked away from the conference feeling pretty confident about our organization and the efforts we have made with our Residency program, the Diversity Committee and the recent invited speakers.

My favorite, and most challenging session was by Tracie Hall who is the Assistant Dean at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University. Ms. Hall held a two hour dialogue called "Invited But Not Included: Library Workforce Diversity in Conflict (or What To Do When Diversity at Work Isn't Working)". It was a very thoughtful and engaging conversation that boiled down to building relationships with your colleagues will better your understanding of them and will improve the organization as a whole.

Jose Aponte gave the opening remarks at the conference and used his Puerto Rican background to connect with what is important in the workplace. He used many Spanish words to relate to the concepts of a successful work environment. The ones that stood out to me were RESPECT and FAMILY. Some people do not like to use the word family when relating to work, but I find it helpful to think about the whole organization as a family. Some people you are very close to, others not as much, and some with whom you have conflict, however we are all working toward a greater goal of library service.

I will step down from the soapbox now! Attending the Diversity in Libraries conference was a wonderful experience and I hope to incorporate many of lessons I learned to our work world.

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