Attending the ACRL Conference in Baltimore, Maryland was an experience of a lifetime! I enjoyed meeting new people, learning new things, and listening to the guest speakers share their stories and experiences to how their grind in librarianship matters. The workshops I attended were really fun, but there were a few that I attended that stuck out: “Using Acting Techniques and Performance Theory to Engage Students and Enhance Learning,” “Harnessing the Intersections of Writing and Information Literacy”, “Using ACRL Diversity Standards to Transform Libraries: How Do We Practice and Value Cultural Competencies?” and “What if I Say the Wrong Thing: Interrupting Bias in Ourselves and Others.”
Each workshop opened my mind to new ideas that I could bring back to my library to help and support student success more efficiently and effectively. One major topic that was discussed dealt with diversity. But ? Is diversity a word that is over used, but does not have any substance? Using the word diversity, but having nothing to show for it such as more people of color in leadership positions within libraries, more black people in management, and fair opportunities for all people of color, are ways that diversity should be visible and present in all entities. Now in retrospect, you see more libraries trying to tackle the DIVERSITY dilemma, but according to the Department for Professional Employees: Librarians, technicians, and assistants are predominantly white. In reference to an ALA report, there is a persistent lag in racial diversity and people with disabilities. I appreciated ACRL pointing out the lack of diversity within libraries, and how the needs for equal opportunities for other ethnic groups are still prevalent today.
Providing equal opportunities for people of color was one of the main vocal points that ACRL exploited. The workshops and lectures helped librarians and library professionals to be aware of social issues that can be changed within the field of librarianship. I know our students at WSSU will do great things, achieve unimaginable goals, and give back to their community, and my job as a librarian is to ensure that they have the resources and knowledge to make that happen.
Author: Sharnette Evans