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WLA Advocacy Corner

EDI Advocacy...101?
September 2021 | Abbie Anderson

If you attend the WLA Conference this year, you may notice a session called “EDI Advocacy 101.” What does it mean to advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion in our libraries? How do we make that happen? How do we make it more than buzzwords and an acronym?

The panelists for the session will have more to share about their experience with those questions. And that really is the point, isn’t it? Listening to someone else describe their experience, or speaking up for my own. Each of us experiences the world according to all the things we were raised to take for granted about who people are and how they should be. But what if the things I take for granted are not the only way? What if someone assumes that my world must be just like theirs—or that my world doesn’t matter (or that I shouldn’t exist)?

In libraries, we turn to information and stories to educate our understanding and expand our imagination. So we advocate for access, and we advocate for collections that represent not only the widest range of ideas but the widest range of authentic experiences and identities. We advocate for diversity in hiring and equity in organizational culture. We pay attention to who we’re including, and who we’re leaving out, in all our words and work. We talk with our elected representatives and our boards and our communities and our bosses and our co-workers about how our libraries can re-examine our assumptions, and make the most inclusive welcome to, you know, everybody. That’s how we make a start with EDI Advocacy...101.

The Denver Public Library’s Advancing Racial Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace Symposium from July 2020, is a great resource!

Abbie Anderson (she/her)
WLA Advocacy Committee
Operations Manager, Woodinville Library
King County Library System

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