The ACRL Women and Gender Studies Section (WGSS) is looking for panelists for our accepted program at ALA Annual 2019 in Washington, D.C. The program is called “Pitfalls of neutrality: What does inclusivity mean in libraries?” It is scheduled for Saturday, June 19, at 9:00 am. Each panelist will have approximately 10-15 minutes to speak. To be considered as a panelist, please submit a brief summary of the issue(s) you would address, including your type of library to Laura Bonella (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Monday, January 21.
Program description: Librarians are committed to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion, but what does this mean in today’s political climate? We are frequently required to make decisions that pit free speech against the comfort and safety of other patrons (e.g. allowing political or hate groups to use our meeting rooms), or called upon to defend our collection, exhibit, or program decisions in the face of patron challenges. Even our decisions about configuring the space in our libraries may create controversy – gender neutral restrooms, prayer rooms, lactation rooms, or how we make our buildings accessible.
We are looking for a diverse group of speakers who have handled these challenges and can share their experiences and how they dealt with various situations. Attendees will have the chance to ask questions and interact with the speakers and each other. We would like them to leave the program with strategies from different libraries to consider when examining their own perspectives on equity, diversity, and inclusion and how to address these issues in their libraries. The program is co-sponsored by the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom and will have a panelist from their office.
All the best,
2019 WGSS Program Planning chair