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.

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