In the fall of 2020, GLA acted on their advocacy for equality, diversity and inclusion with the formation of the EDI Task Force. Task Force members Chaun Campos (Georgia State University) and Robert Taylor (Valdosta State University) spoke with GLA News Blog editor Amber Spratlin.
AS: What led to the creation of the EDI Task Force? What is its mission?
CC: The EDI task force’s initial charge is to make specific recommendations for GLA and its units to address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the organization, in libraries in the state, and in the profession. The task force will survey the GLA membership during this process to ensure that all GLA member voices are heard.
AS: On the EDI Task Force webpage, it states that the committee is working to survey the GLA members so that all voices are heard. What types of items are you hoping to learn more about from GLA members and other Georgia library staff?
CC: We are hoping to learn a few different things from GLA members. We are hoping to learn what barriers our colleagues from marginalized communities have faced in GLA and in the workplace. These experiences do not have to be specific to Georgia libraries. We are also going to use the survey as an opportunity to learn what types of programs can be offered to foster an equitable and inclusive environment.
AS: What types of issues has the EDI Task Force already identified?
CC: Our preliminary research has helped us learn from similar efforts in other parts of the country and the world. We are aware that many BIPOC are underrepresented in the information profession. We have come across literature suggesting that successful inclusivity and equitability can be attained through open communication, advocacy, and empathy.
AS: Are resources available for Georgia librarians/administrators who want to create diverse, inclusive, and welcoming spaces at their own libraries?
CC: Yes! There are many. If your institution offers LinkedIn Learning we highly recommend taking some of their courses on Unconscious Bias and Emotional Competency. There are also resources that our task force members have procured for review. We’d like to share this with the GLA membership. Here’s the link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Z-wyUftE3c8IXqGTwZR_sOnRpV8kYvWXnh2ItxUJ0s8/edit?usp=sharing
AS: Moving forward, what are the goals for the EDI Task Force? How can others work with you to affect change at our local levels?
CC: Moving forward, the Equity Diversity and Inclusion Task Force would like to implement some of the recommendations we’ve solicited from our members and task force volunteers. These include:
- Establishing a baseline for membership needs in terms of equity, diversity, and inclusion through survey distribution
- What do members think is important?
- How much do they already understand, know about EDI?
- What format?
- Research activities?
- A robust mentoring program for all levels of librarianship including mentorship training
- Gathering and providing access to current and engaging resources focused on EDI
- Considering and embedding EDI best practices into GLA policies and other documentation
Thanks to Chaun and Robert, and the Task Force — and Amber.