In front of the Library Diversity Institute 2018 Banner
The ACRL(Association of College and Research Libraries) Library Diversity Institute 2018 was held in Greensboro, North Carolina during Labor Day weekend. This Institute was held for Academic Librarian residents and fellows from the United States and Canada. The purpose of the meeting was to meet and become a cohort of residents and fellows. Also, the meeting was meant to help us navigate our unique position, give us tips on how to make the best out of our residencies and fellowships and to network with other library professionals. My experience was wonderful. It was great to be among librarians from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. I felt like I found my people because I did not have to explain to them why I am a librarian, they got it. So many times people, in general, do not understand why I am a librarian. Also, I do not look like or dress like the stereotypical librarian. I am unique in general so for my uniqueness to be carried into a predominately white woman profession causes many to pause in confusion and disbelief. At times it can be disheartening the reactions but I love a challenge. If I can bring more awareness to academic librarianship in general then I have been successful.
Before I took this position I did a lot of research on how librarians have tried to diversify this profession. One of the ways that I learned that endeavor has been pushed forward was through residency programs so when I saw this position and the residency programs at Cornell University and SUNY Oswego available I became excited because even if I did not land the position others that believed in diversity would be given an opportunity to make changes in academic librarianship. While doing research I often quoted from Jason Alston’s research so to finally meet him personally at this conference was mind-blowing for me. I was so impressed that he remembered my name throughout the weekend. Also, we learned that we both do not like the New England Patriots. I enjoyed listening to his research process and the data from his doctoral research.
I am glad to say that after the Institute I was able to build on my relationships with fellow librarians across the United States of America. After the conclusion of the Diversity Institute, I had an idea for a roundtable discussion so I reached out to our cohort’s listserv so that some of them could join me in submitting this proposal. I was grateful for the response from my cohort. As a result, the proposal that I submitted with 3 other librarians from the Diversity Institute for a roundtable discussion for the 2019 Association of College and Research Libraries Conference was accepted. If it was not for the Diversity Institute I would not have had the librarians needed to do this roundtable discussion. I am looking forward to the work that will come out of our cohort, we are determined librarians ready to make a difference in this profession.