Diversity and Cultural Competency Training: Collections & RA

What You Need to Know to Build and Market Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Collections

November 2–16, 2017

Live Sessions on Thursdays at 1:00 PM ET: November 2, 9 & 16. Bridged with Online Workshops and Discussions

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Cultural Literacy

Do you want to ensure that your library’s collections are Diverse, Equitable, Inclusive—and Well-Read?

Do you want to become a more culturally literate librarian and a more effective advocate for your community?

Library Journal and School Library Journal have developed a foundational course specifically for librarian professionals who work in collections and readers’ advisory (RA).

We’ve convened an outstanding group of experts to explore key concepts essential to cultivating and promoting inclusive and equitable collections. This course will cover a wide range of topics through a diverse lens that includes, but is not limited to, the experiences of LGBTQIA people, Native people, people of color, people with disabilities, non-binary or gender non-conforming people, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.

Here’s what you’ll come away with:

  • The ability to assess current library collections, book promotions, and displays through a diverse lens in order to assess gaps in collections and service areas.
  • An understanding of key diversity and cultural literacy concepts such as white privilege, unconscious bias, cultural appropriation, and intersectionality.
  • The ability to recognize common problematic stereotypes, tropes, and microaggressions in media.
  • The ability to assess the diversity and inclusiveness of current collection development and RA practices.
  • Guidance on planning and executing a diversity audit.
  • Tools, tips, and advice on how to better diversify collections and displays.
  • A plan of action to better diversify your library collections and address gap areas that will transform your understanding of your library users and the services you provide.

Online Course Features

  • Instructor-led online courses feature personalized interaction over three weeks
  • Real-time guest speakers and conversation via live webcast (with recordings available if you can’t join live)
  • Weekly assignments to help you make progress on your goals
  • Individualized attention from course facilitators who work with you in a coaching environment to help guide your work

Who should take this course?

Public librarians, both adult and youth services; academic librarians; school librarians. The program will be especially relevant to librarians in collection development, collection management, merchandising and displays, and library marketing and outreach.

Sponsored by:

Group discounts are available!

Register in groups for a unique team-building experience and get everyone working together. Contact us to learn more.

Inspiring Live Guest Speakers + Project-Based Learning

Engage with presenters via live video stream, visual presentations, and chats, and workshop practical solutions in groups, with guidance from an advisor, to map out your own cultural literacy and inclusion programs or initiatives. You’ll leave with well-developed strategies designed to make a lasting impact on your community.


Course Schedule

WEEK 1: Thursday, November 2, 2017

Welcome to Class

12:45-1:00 PM ET

SLJ Reviews Manager and SLJTeen Editor Shelley M. Diaz, who helped design this course, will welcome you to class and provide insights into the course structure, speaker program, and assignments to help you get the most out of class.


Shelley Diaz
Shelley M. Diaz, SLJ Reviews Manager and SLJTeen Editor, School Library Journal

SESSION 1: What is a Diverse and Inclusive Collection?

1:00-1:45 PM ET

Library collections should reflect their community’s needs, offering both windows and mirrors for readers. But what does a truly diverse and inclusive collection look like? How are they similar and different across various types of libraries and communities? Do your current practices and policies support, ignore, or hinder efforts at diversity and inclusion? Robin Bradford will discuss the need diverse books, explain and explore #ownvoices titles, and offer advice on making the selection of inclusive literature an intentional part of collection development and readers’ advisory.


Robin Bradford 
Robin Bradford, Collection Development Librarian, Timberland Regional Library (WA)
Stephanie Sendaula, Editor, Library Journal

SESSION 2: How to Do a Diversity Audit

1:45-2:30 PM ET

Karen Jensen will discuss the need for librarians to perform regular audits of their collections and programs in order to better align offerings to community need, identify gaps, and set benchmarks for diversification. Participants will learn how to perform a diversity audit, which salient data points should be included, how to gather the requisite information, how to set goals to address gaps, and how to make diversity and inclusion natural parts of collection management and promotion.


Karen Jensen
Karen Jensen, MLS
, Creator and Administrator, Teen Librarian Toolbox

Weekly Assignment:
Prepare for and begin a multi-week collection assessment, including: deciding if you will look at your entire collection or perform a smaller “snapshot,” identifying which collection/collections will be involved,  deciding if you will include patron and/or staff surveys, and examining your book lists.

WEEK 2: Thursday, November 9, 2017

SESSION 1: What is White Privilege and Unconscious/Implicit Bias?

1:00-2:00 PM ET

In this session, participants will learn about and explore the concept of white privilege, as first articulated by feminist scholar Peggy McIntosh. Participants will be asked to interrogate their own experiences of privilege, “unpack their invisible backpack,” and reflect on ways that privilege affects their perspectives on library services and literature.


Melissa Prescott
Melissa K. Prescott, Professor and Research Librarian, University Library, St. Cloud State University (MN)

SESSION 2: What is Intersectionality?

2:00-2:30 PM ET

An introduction to intersectionality, a framework developed by Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw. Participants will explore the ways in which different identities experience oppression in varying ways and how those intersecting identities shape lived experiences, options, and perspectives.


Laura Jimenez
Dr. Laura Jimenez
, Lecturer, Boston University (MA)

Weekly Assignment:
Following the plan laid out in Week 1, gather the collection data and human feedback on the state of your current collection(s). What did you learn? What gaps were identified?

WEEK 3: Thursday, November 16, 2017

SESSION 1: Cultivating an Environment of Respect using Music and Literacy – Sponsored SessionCantata Learning

12:30-1:00 PM ET

Explore ways to use music and literacy to support social-emotional learning, self-confidence, and student’s voice, and learn why music is a catalyst for fostering community, collaboration, and creativity. Join the session live to be eligible for giveaways from presenting sponsor, Cantata Learning.


Katherine Coughlan Hobson
Katherine Coughlan Hobson, General Manager, Cantata Learning

SESSION 2: Stereotypes, Tropes, and Cultural Appropriation

1:00-2:00 PM ET

Some common stereotypes in books and media are easy to spot—others require a more fine-tuned understanding of culture and history. In this session, librarians will learn how to spot problematic stereotypes and tropes—and how to avoid unintentionally perpetuating such depictions. Participants will hear from several experts in the field about the ways that specific marginalized cultures—Native American, Asian American, and African American—are portrayed in mainstream media, their cultural traditions misunderstood or misrepresented, and their stories appropriated by cultural outsiders.


Jennifer Baker Sarah Park Dahlen Debbie Reese
Jennifer Baker,
Writer, Editor, Advocate, and Founder of the Minorities in Publishing podcast
Sarah Park Dahlen, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Master of Library and Information Science Program, St. Catherine University (MN)
Debbie Reese, Ph.D., Publisher of American Indians in Children’s Literature

SESSION 3: Anti-Oppression, Allyship, and Emotional Labor

2:00-3:00 PM ET

Librarians committed to building strong and diverse collections and programs may wonder what else they can do to be positive agents of change in their communities. While there is far more than can be and is being done than we can cover in a single session, we’ll look at what it means to be an “ally,” how librarians can strive for social justice in their spheres of influence, and make space for marginalized voices and viewpoints. Anastasia Collins, librarian at Simmons College, will explore the experience of emotional labor and offer ways that diverse coalitions of professionals and advocates can support each other’s efforts in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Anastasia Collins
Anastasia Collins,
Liaison Librarian, Simmons College Beatley Library (MA)

Weekly Assignment:
Report back to facilitator group on the findings of your audit and what steps you plan to take to address any gaps you find.