Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Committee

Jessica Salow

co-chair

Stacey Akahoshi

co-chair

AzLA EDI Statement

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are fundamental values of the Arizona Library Association and its members. We support Arizona libraries and library workers in creating justice-centered workspaces that represent the communities we exist to serve.

To accomplish this, we facilitate conversations around non-discrimination and equitable opportunity as they impact the profession of those we serve as allies. We use a social justice framework to inform library policies, development of resources, collections, displays, and programs. We strive to create an association culture where these values are incorporated into library workers’ everyday activities.

AZLA EDI Definition

Equity

Equity is not the same as formal equality. Formal equality implies sameness. Equity, on the other hand, assumes difference and takes difference into account to ensure a fair process and, ultimately, a fair (or equitable) outcome. Equity recognizes that some groups were (and are) disadvantaged in accessing educational and employment opportunities and are, therefore, underrepresented or marginalized in many organizations and institutions. The effects of that exclusion often linger systemically within organizational policies, practices, and procedures. Equity, therefore, means increasing diversity by ameliorating conditions of disadvantaged groups. (Adapted from National Association of Social Workers)

Adopted by ALA Council in 2017 per the recommendation of the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Diversity

Diversity can be defined as the sum of the ways that people are both alike and different. Visible diversity is generally those attributes or characteristics that are external. However, diversity goes beyond the external to internal characteristics that we choose to define as ‘invisible’ diversity. Invisible diversity includes those characteristics and attributes that are not readily seen. When we recognize, value, and embrace diversity, we are recognizing, valuing, and embracing the uniqueness of each individual. (Adapted from National Education Association)

Adopted by ALA Council in 2017 per the recommendation of the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Inclusion

Inclusion means an environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully; are valued for their distinctive skills, experiences, and perspectives; have equal access to resources and opportunities; and can contribute fully to the organization’s success. (Adapted from Society for Human Resources Management, Hewlett Packard, and Ferris State University)

Adopted by ALA Council in 2017 per the recommendation of the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Social Justice

Social justice focuses on power dynamics among different groups of people while acknowledging historical and institutional inequities. It has a vision of a society with equitable distribution of resources, in which “all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure, recognized, and treated with respect.” (From Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, Adams, Bell, Goodman, and Joshi, 3rd ed., Routledge 2016)

AZLA EDI Committee Initiative Suggestions for Strategic Plan

We recommend that AzLA implements the following initiatives that holistically address EDI in the Arizona library workforce from pre-service to employment and beyond.

  • Knowledge River Graduates in the Workforce
    Diversity in the library workforce survey – In collaboration with the Knowledge River Program and KR graduates serving in AZ libraries, the committee would conduct a research survey. This survey is intended to document the job search and hiring experience of BIPOC graduate students and library professionals seeking employment in the state of Arizona. This includes those currently working in the field as well as those seeking employment. AZLA will publish findings to inform the profession and suggest strategies to strengthen hiring practices, retention, and mentorship of BIPOC staff in Arizona libraries. The results of the study may be reported in presentations, publications, or other media venues. Personal identifying information will not be included.

     

  • EDI Inclusive Booklists
    Collect a series of existing EDI book lists for distribution to all Divisions. The booklists could target a variety of groups including resources for programming and to support curricula.
  • EDI Mentoring Program 

Mentoring BIPOC library staff members to promote mobility into a leadership role within librarianship. Specific diversity goals could include increased employee retention, especially within diverse groups. It can also help strengthen the leadership succession candidates.

 

  • EDI Professional Development Opportunities
    Partner with the State Library to find EDI resources that support professional development of Arizona library staff in EDI concepts for making everyone feel welcome in all libraries. Develop a program whereby participants complete five core EDI trainings on demonstrating commitment to diversity, intercultural awareness and communication, bystander intervention, unconscious bias, and microaggressions
  • EDI Framework
    Creating a framework of best practices for developing library programs and/or services that support equity, diversity, and social justice. The framework should be flexible and allow for growing and sustaining a more diverse and inclusive working and learning environment that improves the health and wellbeing of our members.

     

  • EDI Committee Formation
    Create a formal task force of diverse members who are responsible for helping bring about the cultural, and possibly ethical, changes necessary for our association.
  • Formalize EDI Committee within AzLA: currently, an ad hoc EDI Committee is working on a EDI strategic action plan for the AzLA organization. I recommend that AzLA formalizes this committee as a standing committee that will inform the strategic plan and holistically address EDI in the Arizona library workforce from pre-service to employment and beyond.

     

  • Reinvigorate the Native American Special Interest Group (NASIG): in an effort to privilege and prioritize the tribal libraries story within AzLA and within the state of Arizona we should support the reorganization of the NASIG immediately.

     

  • Unify the tribal libraries under the umbrella of a full division: to bring the tribal library voice into board decisions and AzLA strategic planning we need to form a Tribal Division within the AzLA hierarchy.

     

  • Support our teacher librarian and school media workers: This membership of our profession has gone largely unnoticed throughout this year of turmoil and continues to struggle with a host of challenges that public and academic librarianship do not. We should make a concerted effort to engage our colleagues who make up a substantial percentage of library workers in the state.