Making Diversity and Inclusion a Central Aspect of Your Research Agenda

Dr. Paul T. Jaeger and Dr. Renee F. Hill (University of Maryland)

This workshop will offer strategies for doctoral students and faculty members (both in library & information science programs and in academic libraries) who wish to emphasize diversity and inclusion in their research agenda. The workshop will cover issues such as identifying research topics, incorporating diversity and inclusion into other researcher areas, targeting receptive journal and conference outlets, crafting research statements, and navigating hiring and promotion processes.


LIS Professionals as Change Agents: Tapping into Our True Potential through Collaboration with Social Work

Dr. Keren Dali (University of Alberta)

As diversity advocates striving to make a difference in their communities, LIS professionals have much to learn from the field of Social Work (SW), in which practitioners and scholars proudly consider themselves change agents. The converging nature of SW and LIS has already been recognized in the creation of dual degrees, professional collaborations, and cross-disciplinary training opportunities. This workshop will initiate a conversation on the benefits of SW practical and theoretical approaches for educating change agents in LIS. Following a brief introductory talk, the workshop will engage participants in a series of interactive activities, ranging from question-guided discussions to creative productions.


Rural Libraries in the 21st Century: Places that Serve Diverse Community Needs

Dr. Bharat Mehra (University of Tennessee)

This workshop will provide participants an opportunity to explore how rural libraries can serve diverse underserved populations and meet unique community needs in response to debilitating socio-economic and socio-cultural circumstances. It will consist of three parts: 1) The facilitator will briefly discuss select community engagement efforts focusing on the Appalachian region to demonstrate the role of library and information professionals in partnering with rural libraries to address the challenges they have experienced in the 21st century. 2) In small groups during an interactive session, the audience will identify specific underserved populations in rural areas in the United States or around the world and conduct a “strengths- weaknesses-opportunities-threats” analysis to develop a strategic action plan tailored to those conditions and settings. 3) The small group leaders will report the results of their deliberations with the entire workshop audience to highlight future directions of application and growth of rural libraries.


Keynote - Presence and Power: Cultivating Student Voice and Agency

Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell (University of North Carolina)

The concept of voice is a key tenet of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and is tied to the centrality of experiential knowledge and the concept of counterstories. CRT scholars argue that these crucial narratives empower people of color to express their lived experiences, including insights into how society is structured to marginalize and oppress, how racism affects their daily lives, and how society needs to be reformed to create a just society. This is particularly important for youth of color, many of whom have felt silenced and rendered invisible much of their lives by the structures of racism. The development and expression of voice can also instill agency in youth of color, a belief that they can transform themselves and oppressive institutions. In this presentation, I will focus on how librarians can create environments where youth of color can develop and use their voices in meaningful ways – environments where their voices are not simply spoken, but where they are heard. I will also discuss the need for LIS curricula and continuing education efforts to prepare librarians to challenge the silence about race, racism, and power and enter into meaningful and constructive dialogues with youth of color.


A Changing Library: Student Retention, Collections, and Outreach

Quetzalli Barrientos (American University)

Nationally, student demographics at universities and colleges have changed. These demographic changes are reflected at American University (AU). Starting in 2011 to the present, the percentage of minorities (full time undergraduates) at AU has increased 9%. Not only has AU enrollment increased every year, but the percentage for underrepresented minorities have risen.

Libraries can be aware of and address the needs of their populations by being aware of campus wide transitions and growth. Libraries and librarians can support the broader community by doing what we do best: outreach and building collections. AU developed a collection in support of student retention and student success. Called the Student Success Collection, we were able to focus on materials that students might find useful. We collaborated with the Academic Support Center, Learning Services Program, and Campus Life, to identify areas that students needed help in developing. Based upon this outreach and input, the AU Library utilized these unique insights and integrated materials that not only focused on student skills, writing skills, but also population specific materials which supported populations of first-generation students, student veterans, adult learners, and underrepresented minorities. This new collection is not only a valuable addition, but has bolstered our outreach efforts while better serving our students.

Part of the Recruitment and Retention track.


Culturally Responsive Teaching: Designing Culturally Inclusive Learning Environments that Support the Retention of Underrepresented Students in LIS Graduate Programs

Frank Aviles (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

This article is a position paper on the use of culturally responsive teaching (CRT) as a tool for library and information science (LIS) instructors to support the retention of underrepresented students enrolled in LIS coursework. In this paper the author provides some background and definitions for CRT, an approach (introduced by Dr. Gloria-Ladson Billings in early 1990’s) that by design addresses the gaps in academic achievement between the dominant culture and ethnic cultural groups. The author further discusses how CRT, primarily utilized in kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms, can be used as a teaching approach in college and university level classrooms (as outlined by scholars such as Geneva Gay, Christine Johnson McPhail and Kelley L. Costner); moreover, this author also suggests that CRT can be adapted to synchronous and asynchronous distance learning environments. This author takes the position that CRT is an empowering teaching and learning approach that can aid in the retention of underrepresented LIS students, which, in turn, can also academically level the playing field among “all” LIS students.

Part of the Recruitment and Retention track.


Outsider-Within Blues: Black feminist auto-ethnographic critique of diversity librarian recruitment and retention programs

LaVerne Gray (University of Tennessee Knoxville)

Diversity discourse in library and information science (LIS) makes the case for ensuring that the profession reflects the diversity of society. There is a proliferation of educational and retention programs to support the diversification of the library and information science scholars and professionals. This presentation will explore diversity through a black feminist auto-ethnography to address complexities of experiences from the view of an outsider-within. Themes reflecting invisibility, resistance, anger, and voice will be explored through the context of diversity representation in the library and information science profession. The nature of the critique offers an alternative view of the narrative of diversity experiences and calls for reimagining the purpose, process, and practices for recruitment and retention of diversity library professionals.

Part of the Recruitment and Retention track.


Examining Cross Cultural Communication in Academic Libraries: Implications for Improving the Library Experience for Asian Students

Melissa Aaronberg (St. John's University)

Cross-cultural communication is an invaluable tool for academic libraries struggling to meet the needs of international students, particularly students from East Asia. Within this paper, I intend to develop a deeper understanding of cross-cultural communication with the goal of improving the library experience of Asian students within American academic libraries. My specific objectives are to: 1.) examine the existing cross cultural-communication efforts academic libraries have in place to improve the engagement of Asian students; 2.) examine the cultural attitudes of Asian students towards libraries and how they inform the students’ library use; 3.) gain a better understanding of the cross-cultural communication skills and competencies needed by LIS professionals in academic libraries; 4.) identify the role of LIS Schools in improving cross- cultural communication in libraries; and, 5.) develop strategies and guidelines for improving cross-cultural communication in academic libraries and explain the implications of the suggested guidelines for other types of libraries and information organizations.

Part of the Academic Libraries and Social Justice track.


Facilitating campus voices: Academic libraries responding to injustice

Veronica Arellano-Douglas and Amanda VerMeulen (St. Mary's College of Maryland)

As students continue to rally against racism and injustice at colleges and universities across the country, how should we, as academic librarians respond? The liminality of the library means we are in the ideal position to create a sense of communitas on campus--a dynamic state where traditional structural barriers break down, in favor of an inclusive community of equals--by sharing student, faculty, and staff voices that might otherwise not be heard, facilitate difficult discussions about our campus culture, and link our community to important resources and readings.

This presentation will focus on the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) Library’s recent efforts to create an inclusive virtual space in response to recent acts of injustice on campus. Leveraging Springshare’s LibGuides platform and in-house media technology and staff, the library quickly developed a website where the campus community could express their support and solidarity for students, post and learn about the events, and share and connect with important self-care and educational resources.

In addition to sharing the SMCM response, this poster will highlight how other academic libraries provide online spaces where their communities can speak out against injustice and share resources; encourage attendees to consider the roles of libraries and opportunities for advocacy at their own institutions; and spark discussion over issues of social justice, reactive vs. proactive measures, and the myth of the “neutral” library.

Part of the Academic Libraries and Social Justice track.


Microaggressions as Detours to Collaborative Pedagogy: Exploring Routes to Social Justice for Academic Librarians

Joy Doan (California State University) and Ahmed Alwan (Northridge)

While some work has been done on microaggressions in higher education, little quantitative data exists on microaggressions from Teaching Faculty towards Academic Librarians based on academic status. In early 2016, the Principal Investigators surveyed North American Academic Librarians, in order to ascertain data on perceived status based microaggressive experiences. Both the qualitative and quantitative data gathered indicates that microaggressive discourse between these two groups hinders collaborative pedagogy. This presentation aims to address the quantitative gap in the literature, that will allow for evidence based conversations about status-based microaggressions in academia.

Many LIS professionals are ill-equipped to effectively deal with such interactions with Teaching Faculty and are forced to learn on the job with little to no training.The collected data will provide insight into Academic Librarian’s experiences. The overarching intentions are to recommend practical and realistic methods by which Academic Librarians can positively improve perceptions of their roles and contributions within academia and be more confident in their interactions with Teaching Faculty.

Part of the Academic Libraries and Social Justice track.


Law in plain language; Law in YOUR language

Dave Pantzer (Maryland State Law Library), Dr. Colleen Ebacher; Kun Alex (University of Maryland), and Joe Wood (LingoTek)

In Maryland, less than a quarter of the poor have a lawyer’s help in addressing legal needs. The People’s Law Library (PLL), a free public legal information website managed by the State Law Library, seeks to provide plain language legal information to the public. The English content on PLL is reviewed by volunteer lawyers and law librarians.

But what about the 17% of Marylanders who live in homes where other languages are spoken? Are we doing enough to help these residents?PLL regularly works with volunteer and paid translators to make legal information available in other languages. In 2014, PLL started working with students to translate content, and in 2016, PLL contracted with LingoTek to empower translators with state-of-the-art support technology. LingoTek’s solution will track small changes in the English legal content, and prompt for retranslation of just the affected text. It will also remember previous translation decisions to help translators work more efficiently.Libraries are understood to be neutral spaces that serve everyone. We welcome landlords and tenants; plaintiffs and defendants; appellants, victims, and small business owners. Come see how we’re working to include those who don’t speak English, and explore whether this technology could work for you!

Part of the Inclusive Access track.


Threading Justice and Equity Into a Technical Skills Course: Addressing Diversity, Culture, and Bias in an Introduction to Computer Programming

Bill Kules (University of Maryland)

As LIS educators and practitioners, we understand the importance of diversity, inclusion and equity. We know that information professionals need to have knowledge and skills to address these issues in their work. The University of Maryland iSchool and other institutions have developed dedicated courses and concentrations around these issues. These themes are steadily being incorporated into other required and elective courses. Still, it is rare for these issues to be addressed in computer programing courses.

There are, however, both ethical and practical reasons for doing this. At first glance, a computer programming course seems an unlikely candidate. Programming is often viewed as a value-neutral technical skill. However, the social and cultural impacts of information and technology are central concepts in our field, and any informed professional needs to understand how these issues manifest in a variety of circumstances, including when programming. Students also need to gain practical knowledge and skills to navigate and resist racism, sexism and other forms of oppression that they will encounter in programming and related technical activities.Students rarely arrive in our classes with such knowledge and skills. Helping them to develop these competencies requires careful sequencing of material and scaffolding of conversations. In this talk I will describe my developing approach to this challenge, share my initial experiences and student feedback, and invite the audience to discuss the creative tension in teaching both technical and ethical skills.

Part of the Inclusive Access track.

Best Practices for Serving the ESL Community: an Urban Public Library Perspective

Catherine Hollerbach (West Area Manager, Prince George's County Memorial Library System), Michelle Hamiel (Chief Operating Officer for Public Services, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System), Heather Jackson (Assistant Branch Manager, New Carrollton Branch, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System), and Mirna Turcios (Librarian III, Youth Services, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System).

Best practices from the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System including how to:

• recruit, support, and engage staff members with foreign language skills;

• create a library environment that welcomes customers with limited English skills;

• establish creative educational and practical programs and services for ELL customers of all ages.

Part of the Outreach and Public Libraries track.


Reaching out to LGBTQ Teens

Naomi Keppler, (Children's Librarian, Carroll County Public Library - Finksburg Branch)

Earlier this year, Outreach librarian Erin Snell and I began a series of booktalks at all 6 of our county public high school gay-straight alliances. I would like to present on how we went about this: writing a program outline and gaining director's staff approval, choosing the books, partnering with our local PFLAG chapter to obtain funding through a Brother Help Thyself grant, presenting the idea to and gaining permission from the Supervisor of Library Media and high school media specialists, creating the booktalks and presentation, evaluation, and follow-up, and unexpected challenges and rewards. Through this project, we were able to strengthen the relationship between the library and our local PFLAG chapter, as well as our library and the high schools. Erin and I were also able to have discussions with the students in an open and accepting environment so that we could talk to them about what kinds of materials they would like to see in the library and how we could best meet their needs. We were able to share with them some of the library's digital offerings, which go hand-in-hand with protecting their privacy - an issue many LGBTQ teens face. I would also like to discuss a few new or award-winning LGBTQ YA titles that librarians may find useful to have in their libraries.

Part of the Outreach and Public Libraries track.


Early Literacy Programming for Families with Fragile Babies

Betsy Diamant-Cohen (Executive Director, Mother Goose on the Loose); Summer Rosswog (MLS-Early Childhood Specialist, Port Discovery Children's Museum), Dr. Brenda Hussey-Gardner (University of Maryland), Susan Sonnenschein (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Lisa Shanty (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), and Rebecca Dowling (University of Maryland, Baltimore County).

More and more children’s librarians are bringing early literacy programming out of the library and into the community. Mother Goose on the Loose (MGOL) Goslings is a program developed via a collaboration between Mother Goose on the Loose LLC, Port Discovery Children’s Museum, University of Maryland School of Medicine/University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), and University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Initially funded by PNC Bank, MGOL Goslings was piloted in April 2016. Following training sessions, selected museum staff ran (and are still running!) weekly MGOL Goslings sessions in the UMMC NICU Family Lounge.

Knowledge and passion for early literacy by two children’s librarians combined with the medical expertise of an Associate Professor of Pediatrics/child development specialist led to this unique program. Developmentally-sound early literacy practices are introduced to parents and caregivers with the intent of giving them the confidence and skills to help fragile babies develop with love and with language. The early literacy practices, talk, sing, read, and play, are taught to parents and practiced using

props and activities, accompanied by information showing how to interpret the signals that NICU infants make.

Although the underlying mission is to build literacy skills, family members learn new ways to connect with their infant, strengthening parent/child bonding. Learning how to recognize babies’ signals empowers parents to take an active role in assisting with their child’s development.

Two UMBC doctoral students are collecting data that will be analyzed when the pilot program finishes.

Part of the Outreach and Public Libraries track.


Not One America: Demographic Differences in Health- and Information-Related Self- Efficacy and Health Information Source Access, Preferences, Perceptions, and Use

Beth St. Jean (University of Maryland)

We are not one America when it comes to our health- and information- related self-efficacy and the sources of health information we have access to, prefer to use, trust, and make use of. An analysis of the just-released HINTS-FDA dataset (available: reveals some important, statistically significant differences on these variables across demographic factors, such as age, educational attainment, household income, and race/ethnicity. For example, people reporting higher household income levels were much more likely to report that they use the Internet, that they have looked for health information for themselves and/or others, that they have turned to the Internet for such information, and that they have kept track of their personal medical information online. People reporting lower household income levels, on the other hand, were far more likely to exhibit low levels of health-related self-efficacy (i.e., agreeing that “there’s not much you can do to lower your chances of getting cancer”), express less confidence in their ability to obtain needed health information, express less trust toward information from a doctor and toward information from government health agencies, and to report both feeling frustrated during their search for health information and finding the information they located to be hard to understand. In this presentation, we will share the results from our statistical analysis of this dataset and discuss some of the potential implications of our findings in relation to working toward eliminating health disparities and ensuring that we all live long and healthy lives.

Part of the Community Health and Equity track.


Promoting Multiracial Unity in the Classroom and on the Street

Karyn Pomerantz (George Washington University)

Persistent police brutality and murders have exposed more people to the racism inherent in our society and propelled many into actions and conversations. Librarians and health practitioners have many opportunities to engage in anti-racist activities. Lessons from previous movements that used or rejected multiracial strategies shed light on the need to build solidarity across “identities.” This presentation will briefly define the components of racism, argue for multiracial solidarity vs. white skin privilege theories, describe historical examples of anti-racist struggles, and discuss an NLM funded health information outreach program that worked to equalize access and use of sound health information for the public.

Health Information Partners (HIPS) partnered with adult learning, library and health organizations, community health workers, and health students to provide training and street outreach for workforce development and adult education learners, HIV and recovery support groups, public housing residents, and seniors, many who had little Internet experience. Participants reported that they would share their new knowledge, try to follow health recommendations, and change behaviors. Several joined our local public health association’s Health Disparities/Equity Committee and advocated for affordable housing, jobs, and HIV funding. The project brought people together across the barriers of “racial” categories and socioeconomic status while offering skills and opportunities to contribute to neighborhood health.

Part of the Community Health and Equity track.


Bumps along the Road from Compliance to Self-Management: Patient and Doctor Information Behaviors that can Reinforce Health Disparities and Lead to Poor Health Outcomes

Beth St. Jean and Gagan Jindal (University of Maryland)

Over the past several decades, the responsibility for maintaining (or regaining) one’s health has shifted toward the patient. With respect to diabetes, in particular, this transition is illustrated by the growing movement away from the term “compliance” toward the term “self-management” when referring to the daily activities a diabetic must carry out to control his/her blood sugar. In between these two opposing poles, however, is a sweet spot – the doctor-patient relationship that is more of a partnership, in which the patient takes primary responsibility for his/her health but the physician and patient work in tandem as partners, each with recognized expertise, in the service of the patient’s health. Along this road from compliance toward self-management, we are encountering some bumps that can serve to reinforce existing health disparities and lead to poor patient health outcomes. Many of these bumps arise out of the failure of the doctor-patient relationship to evolve to take into account both this shift and our accelerated progression toward a more disintermediated world in which people can turn to the Internet (and other sources) for instant access to health information without necessarily consulting their doctors. This presentation will focus on the information behaviors of both patients and doctors, particularly those that do not fit with this new partnership model and thus, can reinforce health disparities and lead to poor patient health outcomes. In conclusion, we’ll explore ways in which doctor and patient information behaviors can help to foster strong, trust-filled partnerships and facilitate optimal patient health outcomes.

Part of the Community Health and Equity track.


Educating library leaders: exploring transformational leadership and feminist pedagogy

Nancy Lovas (University of Maryland)

Librarians are relying on transformational leadership to guide the library and information science (LIS) profession through rapid external change. However, fostering internal change, or the change of perceptions, norms, and attitudes, is an arduous process. The very concept of leadership must change if there are to be sufficient effective leaders to achieve transformation towards greater inclusion and diversity in leadership. Olin (2015) and Neigel (2015) amplify the reality that transforming gender bias and expectations is the internal leadership change that must happen in the literature and LIS education. This paper aims to pull the LIS leadership literature towards gender-inclusivity, building on the case established by Neigel, Olin, and others, while at the same time examining aspects of feminist leadership theory and how feminist pedagogical methods may be employed in LIS education to achieve this change.

Part of the Innovative Education Programs track.


Librarianship outside the box: The role of education librarians in promoting cultural competency in teacher education programs

Alyse Minter and Miriam DesHarnais (Towson University)

Student demographics in Baltimore County and Baltimore City school systems reflect increasingly diverse student populations, while statistics show that literacy and graduation rates among students of color remain disconcertingly low. The need for quality teachers is strong in these communities, which is where Towson University comes in. In an effort to contribute to university and professional values of cultural competency and literacy acquisition, Towson University Education Librarians have developed a rewarding relationship with College of Education (COE) teaching faculty to provide for embedded services through co-instruction, collaborative planning, and activities designed to highlight new children’s and professional literature.

Because the teaching profession remains overwhelmingly white, we also aim to strengthen teachers’ exposure to values of cultural competency and responsiveness, based on the premise that growth in this area can improve teacher engagement with students in a diverse classroom.Integrating Education Librarians into the COE curriculum has allowed us to model the relationship between K-12 instruction and school libraries, while reinforcing pedagogy and building towards COE outcomes in cultural responsiveness and recognition of students’ needs. Using children’s and adolescent literature as teaching tools, we have been able to recognize the potential for using library instruction to engage future teachers in critical thinking and research-based dialogue around sensitive issues.  Starting with a review of the literature, in this presentation, we will discuss how values surrounding diversity and inclusion in the LIS profession interact with evolving ideas of academic library services and best practices in supporting teacher education programs.

Part of the Innovative Education Programs track.

Diversity Immersion Institute: Engaging Future Librarians and Underrepresented Communities

Tahirah Akbar-Williams (University of Maryland), Cynthia Sorrell (University of Maryland), Rebekah Bachhuber (University of Maryland), Erin Durham (University of Maryland), Luz Maria Flores (University of Maryland), Karina Hagelin (University of Maryland), Gwen Hambright (University of Maryland), Eric Hung (University of Maryland) and Selvon Waldron (Director, Life Pieces to Masterpieces).

The Diversity Immersion Institute (DII) was designed with the idea it would serve as a center, which would be the cornerstone for diversity work at the University Maryland Libraries. This initiative will train future librarians in critical aspects of diversity and inclusion, and introduce students of color to the field of librarianship. Integral to the program’s success is the development of a robust partnership between university departments and underrepresented groups.

As Directors of the DII, Tahirah Akbar-Williams and Cynthia Sorrell had faculty and graduate students lead our in person and online discussion sessions and teach our pre- collegiate courses.Through the discussions we encouraged the iSchool students to reflect on topics of diversity and inclusion within librarianship, including: cultural identity, microaggressions, experiences of minority librarians, perceptions of diversity and inclusion in society, and program planning for diverse communities.In coordination with the Life Pieces to Masterpieces apprentice program as well as iSchool students, we provided pre-collegiate African American males with a three- day college immersion experience. Putting theory into practice, these partnerships allowed the DII to provide meaningful awareness of the importance and practice of diversity and inclusion in an academic library setting.  The 2016 DII serves as a blueprint for future annual institutes. Our goal is to continue to build upon the strengths and success of this year’s program. We will continue to solidify partnerships, increase awareness of the need for diversity and inclusion for future librarians, and introduce students of color to the field of librarianship. 

Part of the Innovative Education Programs track.


Best Practices for Accessibile Institutional Repositories

Caitlin Carter (University of Maryland)

Despite the implied “access” in open access institutional repositories, digital repositories overall lack consistency in how they make information and content accessible to users. Inconsistency in metadata does not promote interoperability or discoverability between repositories and within the repository itself. Moreover, several institutional repositories do not make great effort to ensure content is accessible to users with disabilities by ignoring best practices in universal web development. Finally, repository users often lack a clear understanding of how to deposit their items into a repository with enriched metadata, what items the repository accepts in terms of file types, and what will be done to protect their data so it can be retrieved in the future. Therefore, within the greater umbrella of accessibility, the following areas should be prioritized: metadata standards to ensure universal discoverability; web development standards to ensure access to users with disabilities; policy development to provide transparency; and along with the aforementioned priorities, preservation standards to ensure that research is maintained for future generations.

Part of the Collections and Repositories track.


Diversity at UNT: A Discussion of Diversity Assessment Methods

Morgan Davis (University of North Texas)

Despite an increasing number of libraries acknowledging cultural diversity and its impact upon their collections, there is still the ever-looming complication of how to meaningfully infuse this concept into collection development practices. This is because: a) accounting for cultural diversity within a library collection is still a relatively new concept and b) no consensus has been reached within the professional library community regarding collection assessment methods for cultural diversity. The intent of this presentation is to examine the methods used to account for diversity within the University of North Texas’ Willis Library collection. However, as an aspiring music librarian, my research has led me to focus primarily on collection development practices within UNT’s Music Library. My research findings include recommendations to improve existing methodology as well as the introduction of new strategies to improve this aspect of collection development. If academic libraries are to accurately reflect the historical record to which they are charged with providing access and preserving, then diversity must be deliberately included in collection assessment methods of academic libraries.

Part of the Collections and Repositories track.