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Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Series

The EDI Accelerator Series consists of invited sessions that critically engage equity, diversity, and inclusion in research, education and practice, both locally and globally. This new series will be facilitated by thought leaders who will mobilize the ASIS&T community around urgent information issues such as indigenous knowledge, cultural misappropriation, prejudicial ontologies, counter-narratives, social media activism, civil rights and poverty tourism, transformative information justice, information and technology deserts, biased algorithms, information advocacy, among others. Each session will identify future actions to advance EDI in the information field.

4:00 PM-5:30 PM

EDI and Leadership in Information Science 

Bharat Mehra, University of Alabama, USA; Renate Chancellor, Catholic University, USA; Kathleen Burnett, Florida State University, USA

There are few leaders of color in the library and information science (LIS) professoriate (Wheeler & Smith, 2018) despite consistent discussion about the lack of diversity in the profession. There are many variables that contribute to this phenomenon including the lack of faculty of color and the field’s serious issues with mentoring, tenure, opportunities for advancement, and retention. This panel highlights new LIS leaders of color who will share their experiences and discuss their thoughts on how this dilemma might be remedied in the future.  Wheeler, M. B., & Smith, D. (2018). Race and leadership in library and information science education: a study of African American administrators. Library Trends, 67(1), 23-38.


9:00 AM-10:30 AM

But You Should See Color: Teaching and Research in Information Science 

Nicole A. Cooke, University of South Carolina, USA; Monica Colon-Aguirre, East Carolina University, USA; Lisa Hussey, Simmons University, USA

The phrase “but I don’t see color,” and the colorblind mindset it represents are a hindrance when trying to achieve sustainable and long-lasting progress in the diversification library and information science (LIS). This can be particularly evident for faculty who teach classes related to equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice. It is not uncommon to have students (aspiring LIS information professionals) actively refuse to acknowledge race and resist participation in conversations on hard topics. Race remains disappointing invisible in LIS (Honma, 2005). This session features LIS faculty who have experience teaching difficult topics and trying to change the hearts and minds of colorblind students. Honma, T. (2005). Trippin’ over the color line: The invisibility of race in library and information studies. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 1(2).


11:00 AM-12:30 PM

Prioritizing Marginalized Populations in Information Science 

Vanessa L. Kitzie, University of South Carolina, USA; Amelia Gibson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA; Abigail Phillips, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA; Arcadio Matos, Rutgers University, USA

Our communities and society are increasingly diverse and should be adequately represented in library and information science (LIS) classrooms and literature (Cooke, 2016). In the past few years, the literature has increased, but LIS still has work to do in regard to amplifying marginalized voices (Gibson & Hughes-Hassell, 2017).  This panel features researchers and LIS educators who advocate for, teach, and conduct research with marginalized populations in order to amplify and normalize the voices and experiences of those often thought of as “others”. Cooke, N. A. (2016). Information services to diverse populations: Developing culturally competent library professionals. ABC-CLIO. Gibson, A. N., & Hughes-Hassell, S. (2017). We will not be silent: Amplifying marginalized voices in LIS education and research. The Library Quarterly, 87(4), 317-329.


11:00 AM-12:30 PM

Allyship and Mentorship of Diverse Information Science  Faculty

Africa Hands, East Carolina University, USA;  Marisa Duarte, Arizona State University;  Michelle Kazmer, Florida State University, USA; Denise Agosto, Drexel University, USA

Library and information science (LIS) has some amazing scholars of colors in the professoriate, and in order to keep them and recruit more, LIS needs to have more purposeful and consistent conversations about allyship and mentorship (Cooke and Sánchez, 2019). This panel features faculty of color and white allies in conversation about the current state and future of the LIS professoriate for diverse faculty members and doctoral students. Cooke, N. A., & Sánchez, J. O. (2019). Getting it on the Record: Faculty of Color in Library and Information Science. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 60(3), 169-181.


4:00 PM-5:30 PM

"Racism Isn’t Just an American Problem": International EDI Issues in Information Science 

Toni Samek, University of Alberta, Canada;  Loriene Roy, University of Texas at Austin, USA; Michelle Martin, University of Washington, USA; David Lankes, University of South Carolina, USA

Pioneering Black librarian Dr. E.J. Josey told the global library and information science (LIS) community in 1998 that it had a problem with race. And now in 2020, that problem remains, in addition to a lack of literature related to race and a lack of diverse LIS professionals. This panel features LIS leaders with deep roots and connections to diverse international LIS communities. They will discuss their experiences and posit thoughts on how the problem of race might truly become a serious global discussion and area of action and advocacy. Josey, E. J. (1998). Remarks on racism, international relations and librarianship. Progressive Librarian, 15, 62-64.


9:00 AM-10:30 AM

Mentoring, Immersion, and Long-Term Support of Underrepresented Students: Spotlight on the i3 Program

Kayla Booth, University of Pittsburgh, USA; Megan Threats, Rutgers University, USA;  Lynette Yarger, Pennsylvania State University, USA; Curtis Cain,Howard University, USA

Among the most frequent conversations in library and information science (LIS) is that of recruitment of diverse candidates. Despite many initiatives to recruit a diverse LIS workforce (e.g., the ALA Spectrum Initiative, various IMLS grant-funded programs) there is still a dearth of diverse students in LIS programs, and therefore the professions. This session will spotlight the iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) which is an undergraduate research and leadership development program that prepares students from underrepresented populations for graduate study and careers in the information sciences. Over 200 underrepresented students have participated in the program since 2011. 100% of these students have been accepted to one or more graduate LIS/IS programs, and 99% completed their programs (Booth et. al, 2020). The program will feature the i3 directors, program mentors, and a program alum who will share their strategies for recruit and mentoring success.

Booth, K. M., Eikey, E. V., Sanchez, J., Figueroa, J., & Falana, A. (2020, March). Expanding the REU Model Within an iSchool Context: Exploring iConference’s Potential Role in Addressing Underrepresentation. In International Conference on Information (pp. 497-510). Springer.