Sunday, December 21, 2008

ILA Election Coming Soon!

We hope ILA members will consider voting for Terry Cottrell, Director of Library Services at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, for Member-at-Large. Terry holds an MBA and gave an excellent presentation on leadership at the Illinois Association of College and Research Librarias (IACRL) Conference in Bloomington this past March. Terry would make a first-rate Director for the ILA's Board.

Voting begins and ends in the month of April of 2009 and more information will follow from the ILA to members.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Society of American Archivists Press Release

Mosaic Scholarship Established by SAA

Financial and mentoring support to minority students pursuing graduate education in archival science

CHICAGO-The Society of American Archivists (SAA) has established a new scholarship for minority students pursuing graduate education in archival science. The Mosaic Scholarship will provide $5,000 in financial aid and offer mentoring support to encourage students to pursue a career as an archivist. It will be awarded to two applicants for the first time in 2009.

Archives contain historical records and artifacts, and archivists work to ensure the identification, preservation, and availability of the nation's historical record. The Mosaic Scholarship was established in 2008 to promote diversification of the American archives profession. The award will be given to applicants who demonstrate potential for scholastic and personal achievement and who manifest a commitment both to the archives profession and to advancing diversity concerns within it.

"SAA is committed to recruiting and developing a diverse archives workforce and the Mosaic Scholarship is one important step toward achieving that goal," said SAA President Frank Boles.

Scholarship applicants must be United States citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. or Canada, and be of American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander descent. They must be currently enrolled in a graduate program or a multi-course program in archival administration, or have applied to such a program for the next academic year. For more detailed information on eligibility requirements and application procedures, go to:

The application deadline is February 28, 2009.

In addition to the scholarship, awardees will receive a one-year membership in the Society of American Archivists and complimentary registration to the 2009 SAA Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

The Society of American Archivists is a Chicago-based national professional organization representing more than 5,400 individual and institutional members. Founded in 1936, its mission is to serve the education and information needs of its members and to provide leadership to ensure the identification, preservation, and use of the nation's historical record.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chicago Tribune: Exploring Race

Dawn Turner Trice's "Exploring Race" blog is at this link:

She also describes the real blood bath on the streets of Chicago in her column entitled "Local carnage covered up by Wall Street woes" in the October 13, 2008 edition linked here, at least for now.

We cannot educate kids in libraries if they are already dead.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I-CARD 2008 ILA Conference

Thank you to everyone who attended the I-CARD sponsored activities at the 2008 ILA Conference at Navy Pier in Chicago! A special thanks goes to Barbara Ford of the the Mortenson Center at the University of Illinois for coordinating the 2008 Associates, our very enthusiastic international guests!

Thanks goes to the I-CARD Committee members and our past members who continue to help out:

Barbara Andrianopoli
Vandella Brown
Melody Coleman
Terry Cottrell
Betty Cress
Veyshon Edmond, Intern
Emily Guss, Board Liason
Sharon Highler
Mary Medjo Me Zenque
Lori Mestre
Stephanie Owen
Mary Tuytschaevers
Roberta Webb

These folks put up with my e-mail messages, which often have subject lines such as "Long E-mail" and "Crazy Idea" all year long to pull this conference off. They are brave enough to read those messages! --Kay Shelton, Chair

See you next year in Peoria, and maybe sooner elsewhere!

DiversiTea! Patrick Dawson

Patrick Dawson now serves as the Dean of the University Libraries at Northern Illinois University. He recently came from the University of California, Santa Barbra where he served as the Associate University Librarian for Information and Research Services and the Head of the Colección Tloque Nahuaque, for resources on Chicano studies. That library collection had its origins with students. Chicano and African Americans took over the computer lab and told the university that they wanted Chicano and African American studies programs.

To emphasize that libraries generally do not represent the population that they serve, Dawson provided statistics. In 2002, 208 African Americans, 147 Latinos, and 0.5% American Indians graduated with degrees in library science--for the entire United States. It is possible to engage in recruitment to the profession, which he did at Santa Barbara. The challenge is that librarians do not make as much money compared to other professions. Dawson, however, mentored three people and OCLC will start a new program for minorities with the intention of diversifying library management. He is currently working toward establishing a fellowship program, with the goal of helping recent library school graduates gain work experience for two years and build their resumes. His work is his way of giving something back to the profession because he benefited from a fellowship program in the past.

For more information on the Colección Tloque Nahuaque at Santa Barbara, please see the Web site at:

For more information on Patrick Dawson, please see this link:

DiversiTea! Jenifer Grady

Jenifer Grady, Director of the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association, spoke on a variety of workplace issues and missed opportunities. She told a story of talking to some kids at 73rd and Stony Island who were using degrading language.* Just letting it go would be a missed opportunity to help the kids learn. Other missed opportunities include when people own stock but they fail to vote on the investment boards that could have shaped the direction those companies take.

In the workplace, genetic discrimination now includes DNA and health issues. She gave a hypothetical example of an employer not wanting to hire certain people because they might get arthritis. Another example of diversity that people may overlook is someone coming from a big city and going to a small town.

The ALA-APA has information on competencies for public libraries for managers. Grady explained how professional development can be an equalizer. There are, however, only six African American librarians in leadership positions in Illinois. But, that means we “have room for you.” For salaries, even if some salaries go up one at a time, that does raise the overall salaries in the state. She emphatically emphasized that comparing librarians’ salaries to those of social workers and teachers needs to stop. She suggested that more people should be involved with negotiating salaries.

Grady mentioned three other factors that would help improve the workplace. When new employees start, there is a need to introduce them to all of the staff all of the time. Next, there is a need for people to mentor and coach employees. Lastly, everyone needs to document accomplishments.

For more information on the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association, please see the Web site at:

For more information on Jenifer Grady, please see the ALA Wiki at:

*For our international visitors, 73rd and Stony Island is on the South Side of Chicago.

DiversiTea! Tracy Worth

Thanks to the ILA for granting permission for the use of their photo of Tracy Worth.

Professional recording artist Tracy Worth dedicated the song “Wind Beneath My Wings” from the Bette Midler movie Beaches to the memory of Sylvia Murphy Williams. Natural light streamed in through the oversized windows during Worth's performance, bathing the radiant sound of her voice, warming the audience's senses and spirit.

Please visit Worth’s site at:
and do not miss her story of going blind in one eye at:

Tracy Worth is the professional name of Tracy Ducksworth, the Director of the Grande Prairie Public Library District that serves Hazel Crest and Country Club Hills, and a 2001 winner of the ALA's Spectrum Scholarship. For every purchase of her CD, "Don’t Let Heaven Pass You By,” she donates $5 to the Sylvia Murphy Williams Fund. You can find her CD on the online music ordering service CD Baby at:

[I can attest to the excellent, unique customer service provided by CD Baby. --Kay]

Friday, October 10, 2008

DiversiTea! Vandella Brown

Always a paragon of style, Moderator Vandella Brown set the tone for the DiversiTea! wearing a simply smashing hat.

Vandella serves as the Manager of the Illinois State Library Diversity Program. For information about the Illinois State Library Diversity Program as well as events and services offered, please see the WebJunction site at: There are links to diversity-related sites, including those at the American Library Association. For information on WebJunction itself, please see:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Scholarship Success: Thank You!!

Navy Pier formed a picturesque backdrop for the 2008 ILA Conference.

Thank you to all who generously gave toward the Sylvia Murphy Williams Scholarship Fund! Our Committee raised $1,302 on the day of the DiversiTea! at the ILA Conference, which exceeded our goal.

Thank you very much!!

Please read about the seven college students in Illinois who are this year's winners in the October edition of the ILA Reporter, available at the Publications link at: We look forward to the continued success of these students and we hope to continue the scholarship for years to come! Those students who earned the scholarship are: Linda Sue Collins, Harriett Elizabeth Green, Deana Greenfield, Elizabeth Hernandez, Hannah Lee, Laksamee Anne Putnam, and Roy Saldana, Jr.

If you would like the opportunity to give something back to the library community in Illinois by helping the next generation of librarians achieve their dreams, please see the information about the Sylvia Murphy Williams Fund at:

Thank you again, to all who helped!

A special thanks to Cyndi Robinson and Bob Doyle of the ILA and everyone on the Conference Committee who made the 2008 Conference a success! Thanks also to the staff at Navy Pier for their quick response in setting up for the DiversiTea!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Instituto Cervantes Library (Tour Continued)

Librarian Salvador Vergara (standing in the middle) explains some of the services that the Instituto Cervantes offers. The Instituto Cervantes trains many of the teachers in the Chicago Public Schools, offers an accredited diploma for teaching Spanish as a second language, and gives dance lessons. The library is one part of the center and it is open to anyone for free although to check out materials, there is a $25 fee to join as a member for students and seniors and a $50 fee for everyone else. The library has around 20,000 items including books in Catalan, Galician, and Basque. The sound recordings include interviews with writers. The library often fields questions for tourism for people planning trips abroad as well as provides assistance to specialized researchers. The library's online catalog links to a database in Madrid.

One unusual event that Salvador Vergara described is a partnership with a center in Hamburg, Germany for a live guitar performance with musicians collaborating via the Internet.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Instituto Cervantes Library (Tour Continued)

According to Salvador Vergara, a little girl who use the library recently left four children's books on the table as though there would be other children sitting at the table to read them. Staff at the library thought the books looked so perfect on the table that they left the books right where the little girl placed them.

Instituto Cervantes Library (Tour Continued)

The government of Spain established the Instituto Cervantes with dozens of locations in key areas all over the world. The purpose of the Instituto Cervantes is to promote the Spanish language and the cultures of Spain and Latin America, especially in areas such as Brazil where there are Spanish speakers yet they are not in the majority population. The Instituto Cervantes in Chicago offers the Biblioteca Severo Ochoa with more than 20,000 volumes, Spanish films, music recordings, Spanish lessons and classes at reasonable costs, continuing education for Spanish teachers, and cultural programming.


Instituto Cervantes of Chicago. (n.d.). Instituto Cervantes. Brochure. Chicago: Instituto Cervantes of Chicago.

Victor M. Cortes (Tour Continued)

Victor M. Cortes attended the lunch and when Lupe Lozano invited him to speak, he declined and replied that she already said what was important. He wrote a book called 10 de Marzo, La Marcha about the March 10, 2006 demonstrations about immigration which took place in Chicago and in cities across the United States. According to his press release, his book discusses events leading up to the demonstration, with a focus on Chicago. He wrote it from the perspective of an immigrant and through the eyes of other immigrants in the form of a novel meant to be more accessible by more people compared to an academic book. He held a book signing following the talks.


Cortes, Victor M. (n.d.) 10 de Marzo La Marcha: Chicago, 2006. Press release.

Lupe Lozano (Tour Continued)

Lupe Lozano, the widow of Rudy Lozano, gave a stunning story of their life together, and his tragic end. He was born in Texas and his family moved to Hammond, Indiana. While he was in high school, he asked for classes on Mexicans. Upon graduation, he entered the University of Illinois at Chicago, and pressured the university to adopt affirmative action policies. In 1973, illegal immigration became blamed for a downturn in the economy. Rudy gave up his education in medicine and became an activist. In 1979, he became an organizer for the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union, later director in 1983.

In 1983, Rudy Lozano ran for the 22nd Ward Alderman and lost by seventeen votes. Lupe Lozano said the election, "was taken away from us."* He worked to unite Latinos with African Americans by finding common ground and his organization helped Harold Washington become the mayor. According to Lupe, Rudy saw the area as north, south, east, and west united and did not want the election of Washington, an African American, to become racial dividing. While Washington served in Congress before becoming mayor, he tried to help undocumented immigrants, and he opened doors for Latinos and women. Soon afterward, someone assassinated Rudy Lozano by shooting him in his home in front of their two-year-old child. Today, the murder remains unsolved.

Following Lupe Lozano's talk, she showed a video created for 2008, the 25th anniversary of her husband Rudy's assassination.

*Chicago was notorious for voting fraud, as coined by the slogan "Vote Early, Vote Often."

Rudy Lozano Branch Library (Tour Continued)

This picture is of chess boards at the Rudy Lozano Branch Library. The library hosts chess games and a group appropriately named the Knight Moves Chess Club. All ages are welcome to play and the library hosts children right after school beginning at 3:00 p.m.

Rudy Lozano Branch (Tour Continued)

Stained glass images of houses, water, sun, and bridges are meant to symbolize growth in the Pilsen neighborhood, according to the artist Nereyda Garcia-Ferraz. A cactus in the center of each panel is in "homage to the founders of Mexico and to the Mexican people in Pilsen" (Chicago Public Library Rudy Lozano Branch n.d.). The stained glass can be seen by passerbys and is meant to draw in the public to the library, by letting them know that it is part of their community.


Chicago Public Library Rudy Lozano Branch Library. (n.d.). A Guide to the Artwork at the Rudy Lozano Branch Library. Chicago: Chicago Public Library.

Rudy Lozano Branch (Tour Continued)

Beautiful mosaic birds along the frieze

Rudy Lozano Branch (Tour Continued)

Rudy Lozano Branch Director Hector Hernandez stands in front of the beautiful mosaic called Chic Chac by the artists Hector Duarte and Cynthia Weiss. The artists based the mosaic on the famous Toltec monument Chac Mool in Mexico. The orginal Chac Mool monument held offerings to the gods, especially Tlaloc, the rain god. The artists replaced the offerings with a book, and inserted Mayan symbols inside the book. The mosaic became a part of the library as the artists set them directly on the brick wall. They chose colorings which compliment the decorative red and blue frieze which appears along the walls in several sections throughout the library.

Following a lunch catered by the Nuveo Leon Restaurant, Director Hernandez provided a short history of the library. Prior to the building of the library, there were no library services, then a bookmobile, and then a storefront. The library dates to 1985 and is 18,000 square feet which is larger than some branch libraries. Planners thought people would walk to the library so there is no parking lot which allowed a larger building to fit in the area. It is meant to serve the Mexican population that grew in the area. There are about 45,000 people in the area the library serves. In the past, the neighborhood was about 95% Mexican but now that is about 80% Mexican due to gentrification.

Officials from the Mexican Consulate visit often and until recently, held many of their events in the library. The Mexican Consulate donated around 15,000 books to the Chicago Public Library and most of those went to the Lozano Branch.

Director Hernandez explained some of the services the library offers. There is introduction to the public library given in Spanish. The library tries to help high school drop outs and there are GED and ESL classes offered. The video collection includes some old Mexican cinema. There is a Cybernavigator who helps patrons and the current one recently earned a $3,000 scholarship for college. Lastly, Director Hernandez added that the Spanish language media is very eager to promote events.


Chicago Public Library Rudy Lozano Branch Library. (n.d.). A Guide to the Artwork at the Rudy Lozano Branch Library. Chicago: Chicago Public Library.

Woodson Regional Library (Tour Continued)

Director Richard Baker listens intently to a question from one of the visitors on the tour. A painting of the library's namesake, Carter G. Woodson, watches over the Circulation area in the background.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Woodson Regional Library (Tour Continued)

The Woodson Regional Library fortunately has a large auditorium. The audience listens to Director Michael Baker explain a little about the history of the library. The construction dates to 1975, before technology became more entrenched in libraries which resulted in some "interesting wiring" according to Director Baker. Woodson is a regional library while branch libraries are meant to serve neighborhoods. The Chicago Public Library system has more branch libraries than any other city. There are two libraries currently under construction and five more in the planning stage.

Director Baker described some of the services the library offers. There is a teacher in the library that is paid for by the Chicago Public Library's Foundation specifically to give kids help with their homework after school. There is a cybernavigator who helps people learn how to use the computers; her nickname is CyberDebbie. There are also basic Internet classes to give urban users some education on computers. When patrons make a reservation to use a computer, they can choose to use word processing or just the Internet.

ILA Conference Bus Tour

The Cultural and Racial Diversity Committee sponsored a bus tour to three libraries in the Chicago area that serve underrepresented groups. This picture is of a sculpture by Richard Hunt called Jacob's Ladder. It is named from the story in the Bible and it is a permanent sculpture in the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection in the Woodson Regional Library of the Chicago Public Library. Our hosts at the Woodson Library told the group that the library has the second largest African American collection in the world.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Language Learning Alphabet Soup

Most people know that ESL is an acronym for English as a Second Language but there are a couple other terms and phrases:

ELLs = English Language Learners. This phrase refers to any non-native speaker of English.

SEI = Structured English Immersion. English immersion refers to pulling children out of regular classes for two to three years, teaching all of their subjects in English (hence, English immersion, sometimes called sheltered English), and then having the children enter regular classes with the rest of the students (Guerrero 2002).

Dual or Two-Way Bilingual Education = Placing children who know another language that is not English into a classroom with native English speakers and teaching all of the children both languages. This often happens with Spanish, in which schools place native Spanish speakers in classrooms with native English speakers and all of the children learn both languages (Ramos 2007). Such an educational program may help give children an edge in employment opportunities later if they know both languages. Often, dual language programs involve splitting each day in half and teaching English and Spanish in the separate halves or splitting the week in half and teaching an entire day in one language and using the other language the next day (Barnett, et al. 2007).


Barnett, W. S., et al. (2007). Two-way and monolingual English immersion in preschool education: An experimental comparison. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22, 277-293.

Guerrero, M. D. (2002). Research in bilingual education: Moving beyond the effefectiveness debate. Language, public policy, and schooling: A focus on Chicano English language learners. In R. R. Valencia (Ed.), Chicano school failure and success: Past, present, and future. (170-192). London: Routledge Farmer.

Ramos, F. (2007). What do parents think of two-way bilingual education? An analysis of responses. Journal of Latinos and Education, 6(2), 139-150.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Please Share Your Favorite Diversity Books!

What are your favorite books related to diversity topics? You are cordially invited to share a couple of paragraphs reviewing your favorite diversity book by posting here in the comments section. Please include the bibliographic citation and an approximate reading level. Any reading level would be fine, from preschool early reader to seasoned library administrator.

We would love to hear from you! Your patrons, especially kids, are welcome to write about their favorite diversity books, too.

Thanks, and happy reading!

Kay Shelton

Improving Latino Education

I can recommend a book which should be of interest to librarians who serve areas with Latinos in their communities:

Valverde, Leonard A. (2006). Improving Schools for Latinos: Creating Better Learning Environments. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education. ISBN-13: 978-1-57886-489-8

This book lays out the groundwork on approaches to improving schools for Latino children from a positive viewpoint. For anyone who has no idea where to begin in helping Latino students succeed in schools, this book would be a great start. The writing is clear, organized, and should be understandable by readers who are not school teachers or school administrators (i.e. community members, parents, and librarians). The book closes with an extensive list of resources for more information and how to find funding for projects. Most importantly, though, is this book points out how many different groups of people would benefit if education for Latinos could be improved. Besides the students themselves, native English-speaking children, parents, teachers, schools, communities, employers in businesses, and indirectly taxpayers could all benefit if the ideas put forth by Dr. Valverde became reality.

--Kay Shelton

Friday, March 28, 2008

Clip from ABC Primetime

Ali Khan, Executive Director of the American Muslim Council, Chicago sent a link to this video. Watch how people react to an actor discriminate against a Muslim woman.

There was a little bit of a discussion on the Shiachat Web site about the Muslim woman hugging the man at the end--touching is not really done according to some people posting messages but many other people commented that it was OK because he was emotional, it was on TV, and it showed the politeness of the woman not to refuse the compassion.

I know the discrimination is real. I work part-time in a pharmacy and two customers asked a Muslim man who used to work there if he was a terrorist. He and I talked about it and I always wanted to ask the next customer who said something that stupid, "How do you know I am not a terrorist" just to see the look on the offender's face but I did not get a chance to do that.

--Kay Shelton

Sunday, March 2, 2008

African American Lives on PBS

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. interviews African Americans as they discover their ancestors through genealogical and DNA research in a series produced for PBS. There is a companion Web site to the first series and the second series, which will be released on DVD later in March.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Chinese New Year Links from LC Primary Resources

Here are links for those interested in promoting the Chinese New Year (for 2009, it will be January 26). The links are courtesy of the Library of Congress Training on Primary Resources that I (Stephanie Sooryun) participated in (and our library director who organized them and added the links to additional resources):

About Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year Celebration
In-depth explanation of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebration Includes explanation of feasts, descriptions of traditional foods and decorations.

Traditions and History of Chinese New Year Celebrations

Articles from the 1880’s
”The Chinese New Year”
from The American Missionary. Volume 36, Issue 5, May 1882

“New Year's Day in China”
from The American Missionary. Volume 38, Issue 8, Aug 1884

Chinese New Year: dragon dance, children and adults watching]: From San
Francisco Chinatown (post-1910)

Chinese New Year: dragon parade]: From San Francisco Chinatown

Chinese New Year: Dragon dance, children watching
Chinese New Year: dragon dance, children watching
Girl in Traditional Dress
Chinese New Year, Chinese girl in traditional dress sitting in a chair
surrounded by various objects, furnishings and textiles.

Girl and Boy in Traditional Dress
Chinese New Year, Chinese girl and boy in traditional dress standing next to each other on a chair surrounded by various objects, furnishings and textiles.

Dance of the magnificent lion
Chinatown, San Francisco, Calif.: From Miscellaneous California views from the collection of Joseph A. Baird.

New Year’s in San Francisco
"Chinamen Celebrating Their New-Year's Day in San Francisco" and "Alter in the Chinese Joss-House, San Francisco"

Other Resources/Activities
Get Ready for Chinese New Year
Get ready for Chinese New Year. Start at the bottom and click on a moon... Based on the book "The Chinese Siamese Cat," written by Amy Tan

Chinese New Year Resources for Teachers
Teacher Planet has lessons and unit plans, worksheets along with other resources that look at the Chinese New Year.

About China
Global Gateways, Portals to the World, Library of Congress resources on China.

Stephanie Sooryun's Blog: Libraries, Research, and a Pot of Gold

Please check out Stephanie Sooryun's blog: Libraries, Research, and a Pot of Gold. She is a fellow member of the Cultural and Racial Diversity Committee for the Illinois Library Association.

If you have your own blog about libraries, please share your URL! You do not have to be a member of the Committee or a member of the Illinois Library Association (ILA); of course, you are very welcome to join ILA.

A Time Out

I do want to take a personal time out to say that I (the blog owner) am a Huskie. I became a Huskie in 1990, eighteen (mostly good) years ago. I hope your school, your university, your library, and your community does not have to face tragedy. If something does happen, you will discover first-hand how really connected we all are to each other.

I want to add a special thanks to the librarians of Virginia Tech, my colleagues from the ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute Class of 2004, and my friends in ILA who sent notes of condolences, support, and advice. The words "thank you" now seem inadequate, but thank you.

Thank you all,

Kay Shelton

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Message from BWS Johnson, Guest Librarian

We've been waiting for you to join us.

We share your oppression, but we share your strength. It is safe here to voice all those things that we know are very right, but society tells us are very dangerous.

You are free here.

You are equal here.

These at long last are not the lies you have heard your whole life or since you discovered you were not like everyone else.

We want to come together.

None of us are perfect, but if we all share the good, we can be.

We can learn.

We really don't want those barriers anymore.

When you choose to be a Librarian, you are choosing to really serve and genuinely give back to the community.

Yes, most of any given day, you will just do your job. You will get people the hard information they are looking for. But every now and then, someone will share something of themselves with you. Or you will share something of yourself with them. We are all us. When it happens, it is magic.

You are choosing to teach. You are choosing to share yourself. You are brave. This is not easy.

You are deciding that you want to leave ignorance behind, and that you alone are not the only one that wants to. You are deciding to tear down those gates, to get rid of those fences of separation, to smash that glass ceiling.

You want to believe that anyone at anytime can learn anything, and the more you see it unfold in front of your eyes, the more you will come to accept it.

That anyone really can recognize their potential and act on it.

We know more than anyone else how lofty those goals are, but if we take a Patron by the hand and take the time to walk with them, they will see the good in us and they will share their good in turn.

These things take time to have. Pain takes time to mend.

But if you want to take this up, you can. We want to help. If you do, too, then join us.

Talk with us. Listen to us. We are all related, and we know it.

Contributed by BWS Johnson
University of Illinois
MLS, Class of 2003
E-mail: mhelman(at)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Highlights of the December 2007 ILA "Reporter"

Find out about five of tomorrow's library leaders by reading the article "2007 Recipients of the Sylvia Murphy Williams Scholarship Fund" in the December 2007 issue of the Illinois Library Association's Reporter. The full text of the article can be found in the archive at: Committee Members able to attend the event at the Springfield Conference at the Rib Shack described below had the honor and privilege of meeting Scholarship recipient Robert L. Jones.

Front Row: Sharon Higher, Director of the Shorewood-Troy Public Library and 2007 Chair of I-CARD; Harrish Bhatt, India Association of Greater Springfield
Back Row: Ali Khan, Executive Director of the American Muslim Council, Chicago; Vandella Brown, Illinois State Library Diversity Program and DiversiTea! Moderator; Kay Shelton, Doctoral Student, Northern Illinois University and 2008 Chair of I-CARD; Asra Yousufuddin, Adult Services Librarian, Itasca Community Library

December 2007 Reporter Forum & Committee News
Cultural and Racial Diversity Committee

Kay Shelton
Northern Illinois University

The Cultural and Racial Diversity Committee members engaged in a flurry of activities during the ILA Conference. Thanks to the thoughtfulness of ILA members buying raffle tickets in hopes of winning teapots drawn at the DiversiTea! and the generosity of librarian and recording artist Tracy Worth, we raised over $900 for the Sylvia Murphy Williams Fund! The fund provides additional scholarship money for students who earn the ALA Spectrum scholarship. Thanks to all who bought raffle tickets and to those of you who donate to the fund throughout the year!

This year’s annual DiversiTea! featured three guest speakers on Islam. Harrish Bhatt of the India Association of Greater Springfield began with a beautiful song. Asra Yousufuddin of the Itasca Community Library provided an overview of Islam through
a presentation titled “Muslims 101.” Her presentation included selections of music and stunning images of calligraphy. She is available as a guest speaker. Ali Khan, the Executive Director of the American Muslim Council in Chicago, began by talking about doing his homework in libraries in Poplar Creek and Schaumburg when he was growing up. He regularly speaks at interfaith events and described how Muslims, Jews, and Christians are “all children of Adam and Eve” and Abraham. His talk focused on the interconnectedness of the religions. [He recommended the books on Islam listed at the bottom of this blog.]

In addition to hosting the DiversiTea!, some of the committee members met ALA President Loriene Roy, who graciously found time in her busy schedule to join members for lunch. Vandella Brown, Manager of the Diversity Program at the Illinois State Library, gave an engaging workshop on diversity with audience participation. The African American Librarians of Springfield invited members to their event, “Cultural Awareness: Enhancing Libraries,” held at the Rib Shack. Tracie Hall, Assistant Dean at Dominican University, related stories from her recent trip to South Africa and reminded all who attended that what is important in life are the things we do for others, not the job titles we have. She met a group of women in South Africa who helped each other become business leaders . . . we all could do more to help others, too.

Highlights of the October 2007 ILA "Reporter"

In the October 2007 edition of the Illinois Library Association publication Reporter, Committee Member Barbara Adrianopoli of the Schaumburg Township District Library wrote an excellent summary of why your library needs to hire a diverse staff, which is found below. She is also interviewed along with Committee Member Vandella Brown in an article by Suzanne Arist entitled "Success in Diversity: How Three Illinois Libraries Embrace Multiculturalism." The full text of the article by Arist can be found in the October 2007 issue archived at:

October 2007 Reporter Forum & Committee News
Cultural and Racial Diversity Committee

Barbara Adrianopoli
Schaumburg Township District Library


Diversity is not only a buzzword now but also a reality. We are a nation and a state where in many counties the “minority is now the majority.” That should be reason enough to have a diverse staff. But, there are many other advantages. I spoke with staff who are the picture of this new society. Their responses are included in this “ten reasons for hiring a diverse staff.”

1) Claudia Manriquez Baranowski gives this feedback: “A cultural and diverse staff would benefit policy decision makers in deciding on services and materials needed to benefit specific groups who use the library.”

2) Claudia and others, like Sangeeta Bhargava and Kathy Tourtelot, all said that staff that speak their native language along with English can help non-English speakers who are limited in their verbal English skills with all the services of the library.

3) The staff member who wears the hijab (Muslim woman’s scarf ) offers a comfort level to fellow Muslim women.

4) Hiring staff who reflect the community often brings in an increase of users. It is often good for staff to test this statement by walking into a completely different community’s
business establishment or public building and feel the hesitancy that comes over you.

5) Helen Stewart, a British national, says, “It’s hard to get taken seriously in reference interviews when you aren’t American.”

6) Helen adds that “diverse hiring practices allow you to think outside the box.”

7) The staff and the public both benefit from hiring people from various ethnicities, nationalities, personalities, and ages. We learn from each other. A teen who is into the 2.0 era teaches us the virtual world. The teen is next year’s referendum voter.

8) Some of the older staff members probably marched in the civil rights movement or anti-war marches or fought in the war or fought for breaks in the glass ceilings. This
time it is just a different march, but one for freedom and equality.

9) “Different cultures and races have different mannerisms and different ways of conducting themselves in a given situation,” says Sangeeta. Learning these differences helps us in our interaction and expectations.

10) And on a lighter note, Sangeeta says, “If you are fortunate, you may get to sample ethnic food and receive gifts from a foreign country.”

At the end of each day, the only important matter is that we have helped bring the library’s mission to those we met. The library is truly the place everyone should find refuge, knowledge, and enrichment.