University of Maryland Successfully Hosts 2nd Diversity in LIS Education Symposium

Sunday, April 13, 2014

 On April 11, 2014, the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland hosted the 2014 Symposium on Diversity and Library and Information Science Education. The focus of this symposium was to bring together researchers, professionals, and administrators to discuss approaches and strategies for educating LIS students and LIS professionals to be inclusive and culturally competent practitioners. This year’s Symposium was sponsored by the Information Policy & Access (iPAC) of the University of Maryland and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

This year’s theme was “Advocacy, Outreach, and Inclusion,” with talks, presentations, panels, and discussions on the formal and informal education of LIS professionals as it relates to diversity and inclusion. This included discussions of the roles of educators for diversity and inclusion in their communities. Among the more than 150 registrants from all across the United States were LIS deans, faculty, and students; directors, administrators, and staff of libraries, museums, and archives; staff of non-profits and government agencies; and diversity professionals.

The speakers reflected this range of attendees, and many different educational approaches, institutions, and perspectives were presented. The keynotes talks were given by Dr. Sam Hastings, Professor and Director of School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina, and Dr. Denice Adkins, Associate Professor of the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies at the University of Missouri. In addition to the talks, the Symposium featured a student poster session to showcase the work of young professionals and scholars interested in issues of diversity and inclusion. The full program can be found at this link

At the Symposium, the James A. Partridge Outstanding African American Information Professional award was presented to Janet Sims-Wood by the Citizens for Maryland Libraries and the College of Information Studies. The creation of a new award was also announced at the Symposium. Thanks to a generous gift from alum Simmona Simmons, the College of Information Studies will now be able to present the Simmona Simmons Best Student Paper on Diversity Award at spring graduation each year.

Video recordings of the Symposium events will soon be posted on the iDiversity website. A special issue of the scholarly journal Library Quarterly later this year will be devoted to talks from the Symposium.

This was the second Symposium on Diversity in LIS Education, and iPAC is searching for funding in order to make it an annual event. The number of attendees demonstrates the vital importance of this Symposium in driving discussions of diversity and inclusion in LIS education, research, and practice.