Directly from 2007 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. — Notes from June 21, 2007
This afternoon I had a most pleasant and productive dinner (my first of the 2007 conference). Satia Orange from OLOS and Andrew Jackson, Sekou Molefi Baako, invited me to share with the Affiliates news about the Joint REFORMA Northeast, AILA, APALA, BCALA and CALA Mini-Conference held in New York on May 18. This conference was the perfect vehicle for librarians and students to attend a totally FREE event about services to ethnic populations. It also included a session lead by Mario Ascencio and I to discuss Diversity Counts and its implications for the profession.
During the conversation with the Presidents of the caucus, we talked about the results of Diversity Counts, a report produced by Denise M. Davis, Office for Research & Statistics and Tracy Hall, former Director, Office for Diversity.
The report is an excellent tool to advocate and develop strategies towards recruiting librarians from minority groups and young librarians. Diversity Counts is the result of extremely hard work by two committed professionals and their teams, and it seems that more people needs to know about it and read it. The results are not pretty: from the total of librarians with ALA membership (2006) and those registered on the Census (2000)
- 4.5% are African-American; 3% Latino; 2.7% Asian Pacific; 1.7% American Indian….
- an overwhelming 45.6% are between the ages 45-54; in general, 69.8% are older than 45 years old.
At the Joint mini-conference last May, attendees from the 5 caucus discussed ways on how to make the Report work for them. Few of the many areas discussed are:
- Lobbying at local, state, and national level / involve elected officials to look for funds to support more people wanting to obtain a LIS degree
- Find ways to develop grants for possible candidates to obtain not only a LIS degree, but a BA, and in some cases help candidates to finish high school, obtain a BA and a LIS. We need people from various ethnic backgounds, we don’t have them and we have to develop them!!
- Share with membership results of Diversity Counts. Sadly, many members are not aware of the Report.
*The ball is in our court, let’s make it work!
I must thank Mario Ascencio and Dwayne for their kindness and for being my hosts tonight. Love!