Diversity & Outreach Columns ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services


2011 Virtual Diversity & Outreach Fair

Held on Saturday, June 25, at ALA's Annual Conference in New Orleans, this year’s Diversity & Outreach Fair highlighted innovative and successful library outreach initiatives and programs during a poster session open to all ALA attendees at Annual Conference.

Topics for this year’s fair included library-based family literacy programs and library services to underserved or underrepresented communities, including people with disabilities; poor and homeless populations; people of color; English-language learners; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people; new Americans; new and non-readers; older adults; people living in rural areas; incarcerated people and ex-offenders; and mobile library services and bookmobiles.

The theme of this year’s Fair is family literacy.

This "virtual" fair is meant to provide a glimpse at the presentations highlighted during the Fair in New Orleans, and includes links to resources provided by this year's participants.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2011 Diversity and Outreach Fair: University of Illinois GSLIS ELSEY (1st place); Chinese American Librarians Association (2nd place); and the ACRL Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee (3rd place).

Many thanks to all the presenters and partners, and to DEMCO, whose continuing generous support has made the Diversity & Outreach Fair possible over the years.

ACRL Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee
ACRL Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee Members

The ACRL Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee present the newly conceived guidelines and standards for Cultural Competencies in academic libraries.  The cultural competencies for academic libraries have been conceptualized for several years, but have finally been written and now shared with colleagues from around the world and the U.S. for edification and consideration.  We the ACRL Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee invite your comments as you read the cultural competency guidelines for academic libraries in draft form. Join the ACRL REDC in taking the proposed competencies back to your respective libraries and let us know how you plan to implement them.

The American Dream Starts @ your library
ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS)
Outreach Area: Services to New Americans

For more than a century, public libraries have been a cornerstone of the American Dream, providing equal access to information of all kinds. Libraries are among the first American institutions immigrants turn to for help in learning how to read, write and speak English. The libraries participating in the American Dream Starts @ your library can be found in all kinds of communities - from large cities and rural towns across the country. In 2010, 75 public libraries in 24 states have been selected by the American Library Association (ALA) to receive $5,000 grants as part of “The American Dream Starts @ your library®” literacy initiative. This initiative is funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

The ARL Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce and Career Enhancement Program: Inclusive Recruitment Leading to Literacies in Research Libraries
Association of Research Libraries
Service Area: Services to People of Color

As a profession, research and academic librarianship draws both those who are preparing to enter the workforce for the first time and experienced workers who are changing careers. Both types of LIS students face similar challenges gaining entry into this field. These include acquiring meaningful hands-on experience, identifying mentors who can help provide career guidance, and making contacts with others in the profession. While it is evident that these can be highly beneficial experiences, in actuality, such opportunities can be difficult to realize, especially for students who are not already working in a library setting. Thus, a structured program that organizes and provides these types of opportunities to LIS students can be invaluable in helping them explore and jump-start their careers. The Career Enhancement Program (CEP) offered by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is one such program. Offered to LIS students from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, major components of the program include a paid internship at an ARL library, an assigned mentor during the internship, and attendance at the annual ARL Leadership Symposium.

As academic research communities, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) disciplines, become increasingly more ethnically and culturally diverse it is important to ensure that librarians who support these communities are representative of this diversity. The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce (IRDW) seeks to support the recruitment of individuals from historically underrepresented groups with educational backgrounds in the STEM fields to careers in research libraries in support of information, as well as data literacy for modern college students. The IRDW provides financial support, professional development opportunities, and mentoring to students entering or currently enrolled in MLIS programs in the US and Canada. This poster will highlight the successes of the program as well as advocate and highlight the need for diversity recruitment efforts in research libraries.

Bookmobiles:  An American Icon for over 100 years
Office for Literacy & Outreach Services Subcommittee on Bookmobiles, Association for Bookmobile and Outreach Services
Service Area: Mobile library services and bookmobiles

Bookmobiles and direct-delivery outreach services are an integral, vital part of libraries around the country. For over 100 years bookmobiles have served rural, urban, suburban and tribal areas, bringing access to information and life-long learning resources to all classes and communities. Bookmobiles are a central part of library service. Recognizing their contribution to public life will serve to highlight their value and extend their reach.

Catch Them While They Are Young!/ Create, Share, and Listen: Recount your New American Experience through Digital Storytelling
Atlanta University Center - Robert W. Woodruff Library
Service Area: Family Literacy and Services to New Americans

The Atlanta University Center - Robert W. Woodruff Library has addressed family literacy through various programming opportunities. These events were designed to reach out to families within the Atlanta University Center (AUC) community. This population is primarily persons of color, and many are poor. The events were to demonstrate the importance of a reading culture within the home. Younger children were targeted because it's important to get them reading as early as possible. So we say, "Catch them while you can"! The goals of the programs: 1. Sharing critical historical information with our community; 2. Partnering with an AUC Education Studies Program and local elementary schools to encourage reading culture, information literacy, exposure to college and future careers, and introducing them to primary resources of an archives; 3. Commemorating African American contributions to American history and culture, exposing them to the field of librarianship through scholars day, and teaching through storybook reading/ storytelling; 4. Demonstrating the value and use of technology resources The parents, students and teachers found the experiences very informative and while also keeping everyone engaged. We look forward to offering more of these types of programs.

Everyone has a story to tell! Yet when you are an immigrant with limited English language skills and a different cultural background, it can be challenging to express yourself, become integrated into your new surroundings, and recount your American experience. In this poster session--the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Atlanta University Center in collaboration with the public library system located in the largely immigrant community of Clarkston, Georgia--will discuss digital storytelling services that have been offered to these patrons. The purpose of this initiative is to promote information/visual literacy and in particular to narrow the digital divide in disadvantaged immigrant communities. Successes and challenges of this program will be discussed. In addition, recommendations for the implementation of similar programs will be presented.. So let’s create, share and listen to the new American experience through digital storytelling.

Celebrating Cultural, Reading, & Family Literacy with Día and Noche de Cuentos
Outreach Area: Family LIteracy

This presentation describes the history and success of the REFORMA-supported family literacy initiatives, Dia and Noche de Cuentos @ mi biblioteca, in reaching out to Latino communities to promote literacy and celebrate cultural diversity while facilitating intercultural connections within non-Latino communities. The role of the library in promoting reading to diverse, multilingual populations of children and their families is clearly articulated via examples of successful Día programs that are past winners of the Mora Award, as well as Noche de Cuentos programs presented throughout libraries across the United States. The presentation also explains how the Día and Noche de Cuentos @ Mi Biblioteca literacy initiatives can assist libraries in (1) developing outreach strategies to diverse populations, (2) planning cultural programs, and (3) implementing services for Latino and immigrant populations.

Circle of Learning Program
San Jose State University, School of Library and Information Science
Service Area: Services to People of Color

Less than 0.3% of our nation’s librarians are American Indian and Alaska Natives, and the numbers of Native people in library school have always been the smallest of all minority groups. Librarians are needed in public, school and academic libraries that serve Native patrons, as well in archives and museums that house collections representing indigenous cultures. In 2010, the American Indian Library Association (AILA) and San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS), with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), launched the Circle of Learning Project: a three year scholarship program to provide financial support, mentoring, career advisement and professional networking opportunities to American Indian and Alaska Natives earning a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree in a fully-online program. This program provides students with the unique opportunity to complete the degree while remaining in their own communities where they live and work. The program blends online course delivery with face-to-face social and professional interactions. The program has successfully recruited students from Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, California, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Maine. Workshops and meetings with students have covered topics such tribal libraries, career planning, mentoring, ad balancing responsibilities (educational, work, and family). The goal of the program is to increase the number of American Indian and Alaska Natives committed to addressing the challenges faced by libraries serving Native patrons.

Cooking Blogging and Gaming Our Way to Family Literacy
Anythink Libraries
Service Area: Family Literacy

Family Literacy at Washington Street Library Family Fun weekly programs promote family literacy, love for reading, improved English skills, parent/child relationships and sibling relationships. Case studies: Older sibling is learning disabled but can be a role model to younger sibling at Family Fun. Parent has little English but improves while having fun with children at Family Fun. Bingo for books (number literacy, oral attentiveness, love books);Cooking activities (measuring, nutrition, reading and following recipes); Crafts (symbiotic learning, family bonding); Game night (cooperation, fairness, improved English skills); Stop Action Animation (computer literacy, creativity) Teen Diversity Awareness Teen programs and Family Fun programs meet the needs of our diverse population including learning disabled siblings and teens questioning sexual preference. Case studies: Our ethnically diverse Teen Advisory Board learns to give each member a voice at meetings. TAB members speak respectfully and they commit to participating in library service projects. Teens read and discussed blog on Person First Language;Teens created own blog about hurtful language

The Fair Housing Five: Building Partnerships Between School Libraries and Non-Profits to Conduct Outreach to Underserved Communities
Audubon Charter School Library, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center
Service Area: Services to people of color

Since 2010 the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) has partnered with Audubon Charter School’s librarian and classroom teachers to introduce curricula about the value of diversity and the impact of discrimination on communities. Within GNOFHAC and Audubon Charter’s two-pronged model, students are first introduced to the concept of fair housing through a reading of GNOFHAC’s illustrated children’s book "The Fair Housing Five & the Haunted House" in their library session. In "The Fair Housing Five" a group of kids discover that a landlord in their neighborhood is discriminating, and must find a way to keep their neighborhood open to all. The story features children of color and children with disabilities and includes a glossary and thought questions to guide conversation. Second, GNOFHAC staff partner with classroom teachers to facilitate workshops on themes from the book. GNOFHAC staff worked with Audubon Charter School teachers to develop “The Housing Choice Game,” an interactive board game that simulates the experience of housing discrimination and its impact on many areas of a child’s life. The workshop engages project-based learning techniques and encourages critical thinking, creative problem solving, teamwork, and real-life application of required English Language Arts, math and social studies curriculum. GNOFHAC’s partnership with Audubon Charter School’s librarian and teachers has taught students life skills and core values, and reached parents and caregivers with critical information about housing discrimination and civil rights. The partnership serves as a model for school libraries interested in collaborating with classroom teachers and non-profit organizations to promote conversations about justice and equity.

Family Cultural Exchange
First Regional Library, M.R. Dye Branch in Horn Lake, MS
Service Area: Services to New Americans

Family Cultural Exchange/Intercambio Cultural Familiar is a monthly series to promote sharing and understanding between neighbors with different backgrounds, cultures, customs and languages. Primarily designed to bring Spanish and English-speaking families together,. Featured are Spanish/English bilingual educational activities, crafts and Live Arts performances. The Cultural Exchange provides a welcoming forum to learn about the library and other valuable community resources. Beginning Fall, 2008, families have come to the library to share a meal, mix and mingle. Initially food was provided by the Friends of the Library but now the event is a true community potluck. Attendance includes young Hispanic families new to the area and longer-term residents from the European and African-American communities. Programs have ranged from Flamenco guitarists, Stax Acadamy of Soul Music performances, bilingual storytellers, Afro-Cuban jazz groups to salsa demonstrations and lessons. The session will talk about the preliminary networking and programming activities that made the M.R. Dye Library's program an ongoing success and discuss how we have met the annual funding challanges.

Family Literacy for New Americans
Service area: Services to New Americans

Ethnic and Multicultural Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) , an ALA Roundtable, highlighted its ongoing work as a forum for the exchange of information on library materials in English and other languages and as a roundtable that promotes services for all ethnolinguistic and multicultural communities in general. EMIERT liaisons with the Office of Library Outreach Services and cooperates with other ALA units, including the ethnic caucuses in joint programs that deal with the key issues of ethnicity and librarianship.

Filipino American Library
Filipino American Library (FAL)
Service area: Services to People of Color

The Filipino American Library (FAL) in Los Angeles is a relatively unknown jewel in the Filipino Los Angeles community. Established by Helen Summers Brown in 1985 It is known for its unique collection of both Philippine and Filipino American materials. A colorful website was developed to mark a place on the World Wide Web. This new enhanced and interactive website strives to highlight their rare collections, primary source materials, and calendared community programs. It also incorporates links to other appropriate community resources both locally and nationally so that the FAL can serve as an important information & knowledge portal for the Filipino American community of Los Angeles and others.

Financial Literacy @ Your Library
Prairie View A&M University John B. Coleman Library
Service Area: Family Literacy

Today's economic conditions have created a need for more financial literacy programs. Recent studies indicate that children are accumulating debt before they reach adulthood. Parents and students attending academic institutions are looking for more information to better prepare themselves while in school and upon graduation. Realizing this need the John B. Coleman Library of Prairie View A&M University hosted Financial Literacy @ Your Library, partnering with Money Week Houstonâ„¢ and Money Smart Week (an initiative of the American Library Association). The John B. Coleman library used resources provided by the American Library Association, the Federal Government, and local organizations to provide information on budgeting, improving credit and how to use library resources for financial information. There are many online resources and educational tools librarians can show parent who want to start financial literacy early or want additonal information themselves. Some of the resources demonstrated included: Peter Pig's Money Counter, Financial Football, and the Smart Money Quiz Show.


Focus on Immigration: Developing Library Staff Cultural Competencies
University of Michigan Library
Service Area: Services to New Americans

The United States has always prided itself on being a nation of immigrants; however, recently immigration became a contentious issue politically and socially. These tensions have implications for working with colleagues and library patrons. Employees in libraries of all types need to have cultural sensitivity and understand these issues in order to forge relationships and improve library services. The University of Michigan Library Diversity Committee (LDC) will present an innovative model to promote intercultural literacy among its staff members. In the past year the LDC has offered a variety of events such as presentations, film screenings and discussion groups around the topic of immigration. Here are some examples: An LDC Book Club reading of I Love Yous are for White People about a Vietnamese immigrant to California;A film series including a screening and faculty presentation on “Children in No Man’s Land,” a film about children from Mexico immigrating to Chicago to join family; Annual Diversity Celebration featuring the theme of immigration and place of origin with activities including international foods, maps, dress, and conversation; Presentations from community organizers and government representatives on local immigration trends and issues The poster will give an overview of our year-long themed series of staff development events aimed at building cultural competencies related to working with immigrants, both colleagues and library users. Attendees will take away ideas about themed programming for developing staff intercultural literacy.

Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC) 2012
Joint Conference of Librarians of Color
Service area: Services to People of Color

Information on the upcoming 2nd National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC) being held September 19-23, 2012 in Kansas City, MO. The Joint Conference of Librarians of Color inaugural event in 2006, brought together a diverse group of librarians, library supporters and community participants, united under a common theme to explore unique and shared successes, opportunities and challenges. Based on the dynamic success from that event, comes a broader event with more education, networking opportunities and exhibits. As with the first event, we will continue to explore two dominant themes in librarianship today: first, the role of ethnic librarians and library workers in their libraries and communities; and second, the role of all librarians in bringing services to and supporting literacy in under-served communities across America. Continuing their ground-breaking partnership, the conference is sponsored and planned by the five associations of librarians of color, all affiliates of the American Library Association: the American Indian Library Association (AILA), the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking.

Kid stuff at GLBT Round Table
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table
Service area: Services to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender people

ALA's Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Round Table offers several initiatives that support services to young people who either are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning, or who have friends or family members in those groups. Recently, Round Table members developed a resource list in response to a number of youth suicides due to bullying. Ongoing initiatives include the new Stonewall Youth Award, the annual Rainbow Project bibliography for young readers, ages birth through 18, and partnerships with GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. To introduce these resources to librarians and others at the Diversity Fair, the display will feature notable books for young readers, bookmarks with links to the Rainbow Project and the Stonewall Awards, a brochure on joint GLSEN/GLBTRT projects, and the resource list on bullying.

Library Advocacy, Family Literacy, and Global Outreach
Chinese American Librarians Association
Service Area: Family Literacy

The Chinese American Librarians Association is an ALA affiliate. In the 2011 Poster Session at the Diversity and Outreach Fair, CALA aims at showcasing its mission, programs and services to diverse people of all ages, with emphasis on its library advocacy, family literacy, Mail-A-Book service to homebound, and global outreach. CALA representatives will be present at its poster location to interact with visitors and answer questions. Hopefully this project will broaden CALA's visibility and provide more opportunities for CALA to better serve a wider community.

2011 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunrise Celebration
ALA SRRT Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force
Service area: Family Literacy

The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunrise Celebration held during the ALA Midwinter Meeting serves as a call and symbol for activities and programs in libraries of America and the world. Through this event, library workers and people throughout each community become reminded of Dr. King's philosophy and legacy. The 2011 theme was a quote from Dr. King and the title of the featured speaker's book: "All Labor Has Dignity." The Celebration showcases and inspires meaningful diversity and outreach as a model for all types of libraries.

More than Money: the Benefits of a Comprehensive Recruitment Program for Underrepresented Students
University of Illinois – GSLIS
Service Area: Services to People of Color

This poster will address a variety of topics related to support for students from historically and statistically underrepresented groups who are scholars of LIS Access Midwest Program (LAMP; http://lisaccess.org). LAMP offers a multifaceted approach to recruitment and retention and has been successful in creating a strong network of participants and partners. The program provides opportunities for scholars that include: annual summer institutes, internships, peer and professional mentoring and financial support. Material will illustrate the scholars’ perspectives and describe what they find most valuable. LAMP is supported by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Service (IMLS)

Merritt Fund: Providing Assistance to Librarians Facing Discrimination or Defending Intellectual Freedom
LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund
Service Area: Librarians Denied Employment Rights Due to Discrimination of Defending Intellectual Freedom

The LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund was funded in 1970 to provide direct financial assistance to librarians who are denied employment rights because of their defense of intellectual freedom or due to discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or place of national origin. The Merritt Fund is supported by contributions from individuals and grants and all grantees remain confidential. In the past the fund has supported librarians harassed at work for belonging to a minority religious group and a library director who was threatened with losing her job for not turning over confidential library records to police.

Multiple Literacies of the Native American and Latino Communities, An Asset-Based Approach
Knowledge River - University of Arizona
Service area:  Services to people of color

The Knowledge River presentation will address how the multiple literacies of Native American and Latino communities can be recognized, respected and relevant in today’s information resources and library services. The presentation will demonstrate ways in which traditional forms of literacy, outside of and including the written word, can be identified and how that knowledge can be applied to program planning and collections in library services to better serve patrons of minority communities. Taking an assets-based approach to literacy, as opposed to the deficit model that circulates in dominant discourse, Knowledge River will highlight lived knowledges and ways of knowledge production and consumption that often get overlooked. Acknowledging what already exists is important to further empower communities to participate in library services and therefore community conversations. Multiple literacies include the diversity of language, communication, tradition and community. Meeting communities where they are means that new and multiple literacies become integral to information resources and the services that are developed to adequately and relevantly serve patron needs while also fulfilling the mission of libraries.

Reaching out with Words and Images
Asian Pacific American Librarians Association
Service Area: Family Literacy

Using a multi-media format the poster session will emphasize the different programs and projects APALA supports and funds in support of engendering a better understanding of APA cultures and history as well as promote the librarianship as a career to future librarians of Asian/ Pacific heritage.

Spectrum Scholarship Program
ALA Office for Diversity, Spectrum Scholars and Alumni
Service Area: People of Color

Established in 1997, the Spectrum Scholarship Program is ALA’s national diversity and recruitment effort designed to address the specific issue of under-representation of critically needed ethnic librarians within the profession.  Spectrum Scholars improve service at the local level through the development of a representative workforce that reflects the communities served by all libraries.  Spectrum has provided more than 730 scholarships to qualified applicants enrolled in an ALA-accredited graduate program in library and information studies or an AASL approved school library education program. To learn more about the Spectrum Scholarship Program, visit www.ala.org/spectrum.

Talk Story: Sharing Stories, Sharing Culture
American Indian Library Association and Asian Pacific American Librarians Association
Service Area: Family Literacy

Talk Story: Sharing stories, sharing culture is a literacy program that reaches out to Asian Pacific American and American Indian/Alaska Native children and their families. The program celebrates and explores their stories through books, oral traditions, and art to provide an interactive, enriching experience. Children and their families can connect to rich cultural activities through Talk Story in their homes, libraries, and communities. The literacy program addresses the needs of our communities by building self-esteem and cultural identity in our children while sharing knowledge and creating awareness of Asian Pacific American and American Indian communities. Secondarily, it provides opportunities for adult family members to expand their literacy skills as they help strengthen their children's.

Ten Libraries, One Goal: Progress Report on Recruiting Future Librarians with Diverse Backgrounds through a Collaborative Project
North Carolina Library Association
Service Area: Services to People of Color

In responding to the urgent needs of recruiting librarians with culturally diverse backgrounds, the University Libraries and the Department of Library and Information Studies (LIS) at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, along with nine academic libraries in North Carolina, have created the Academic and Cultural Enrichment (ACE) Scholars Program funded by an IMLS grant in July 2008. This collaborative Project assists with recruitment, provides the students with internship opportunities, connects the students with experienced academic librarians for mentoring, and offers them with cultural enrichment activities during their two-year MLIS program. Graduating ACE Scholars will help increase the number of the librarians from under-served communities in U.S. while at the same time they will be role models to assist with the recruiting new ethnic minority LIS students to the profession. This poster session will present the follow-up report and measurable progress on the Program.


Turn the Page: Library Services for Incarcerated Youth
University of Illinois, Champaign County (Ill.) Juvenile Detention Center
Service Area: Services to incarcerated people and ex-offenders

Extending Library Services to Empower Youth (ELSEY; http://elseyjdc.wordpress.com/blog/) is centered in the Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center in Urbana, IL. Programming, including video tours of local public libraries, peer-to-peer library instruction, and youth led book discussions, is developed around youth input. Ideas for the project are collected during formal conversations with the youth during workshops as well as informally during library hours. Circulation statistics illustrate how programming and collection development affect the likelihood that youth utilize and benefit from the library.   This poster describes the interaction between literacy skills and recidivism and the importance of including multiple partners in providing library services that link youth in the detention center with necessary resources. ELSEY furthers ALA’s goal of increasing diversity and provides a model for creating a juvenile detention center library that is innovative and transformative for youth and their communities.

UCSB Invites Enthusiastic, Energetic, Highly Motivated Librarians to Apply
University of California, Santa Barbara
Service Area: Services to people of color

The Library Fellowship Program was launched in 1985 by then-University Librarian Joseph Boisse. The fellowship is designed to promote diversity in the library. Entry-level librarians from underrepresented in academic research libraries are recruited and given the opportunity to learn about academic libraries and librarianship and to gain experience in areas or departments of interest. They explore the latest developments in the field and participate in a wide range of professional development. This poster highlights the program and past fellows who have gone on to achieve success in their own right, such as University Librarian at Northern Illinois University and Coordinator of L.A. as Subject.
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