Diversity in Libraries
A blog for exploring and discussing the topics of diversity and multiculturalism in libraries.

Have plans for July 14-16 2010? How about a diversity conference?

By Margaret Rainwater



In 2010 from July 14-16, the National Diversity in Libraries Conference (NDLC) will take place in Princeton, New Jersey. This biennial conference is a chance for library professionals to discuss issues related to diversity, especially those affecting the northeastern states. The theme of the conference will be “From Groundwork to Action.”

Proposals for poster sessions can still be submitted. The deadline is December 22, 2009. Below is a list from the planning committee’s wiki of suggested topics.

“Workplace: administration and management; recruitment and retention; leadership; continuing education; mentoring; organizational culture; office environment; budgeting; motivation; staff skill development; cross-training; usability.

User services: reference; collections; programming; health education; assessment; instructional design; marketing; collaborations; community spaces/learning spaces; outreach; the Library as a Place; customer service; consumerization; usability.

Technology: emerging technologies; technology services; social networking; teaching and learning; innovations; online learning; core competencies; Library 2.0; YouTube; digitization; open source; visual media; web-based collaborative software; learning 2.0, second life; widgets/applications/mashups; virtual libraries/scan on demand.”


I think it is interesting that the conference included the category of “technology” as a main topic of discussion. When I think about diversity, I think of it more in terms of the first two topics: workplace and user services. But there are probably numerous ways diversity could affect technology and vice versa in a library. Think of a library website’s accessibility to patrons with disabilities (LIS 6080 class members will know all about this!), think of your older and younger patron’s that may not be familiar the technology used in the library, and think of how you might bring new groups of people into the library via web 2.0 applications.

Discussion Questions:

1) Do you see examples of diversity and technology at your library? Can you think of other topics not mentioned in the proposal suggestions?

2) What do you think? Would this be a conference you would be interested in attending (assuming cost and transportation were provided)?

My fear is that with current focus on library budgets, promoting diversity in libraries is not the top of most library agendas. It would be interesting to learn afterwards whether conference attendance increased or decreased.

For more information on the conference and to register visit the NDLC’s wiki page.



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