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From the Executive Director — March 2021

I recently participated in Co-Creating a More Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive World with Appreciative Inquiry led by Marlene Ogawa and Tanya Cruz Teller. My journey into appreciative inquiry has led me to think more broadly about communities of practice, including the practice of librarianship.
What does practice mean in our context? How do we carry out our profession? What actions or patterns of behavior are consistent within our field? One place we can look is to the Core Values of Librarianship, as articulated by the American Library Association. These include not only access and lifelong learning, but also diversity and social responsibility. And while we’ve made some progress when it comes to diversifying our profession, we still have a long way to go to reach true equity.
As I sat in class over the last month, I found myself wondering how we might respond to these challenges differently if we reframed the questions from a strengths-based perspective. For example:
  • How might libraries be different if minoritized voices were acknowledged and honored outside not just in DEI work, but in all aspects of librarianship?
  • What would it look like if cultural references and/or norms of minoritized people were part of mainstream LIS education? 
  • What would happen if we decided to accept the decades of existing data and scholarship that libraries are not yet equitable, and focused our efforts on meaningful approaches to solving the problem?
I understand that I am not asking easy questions — that is intentional. I will leave you with one more: What might happen if we stop “practicing” librarianship, and start modeling our core values in our daily actions on an individual and organizational basis? Perhaps the changes we say we are seeking would start to become reality.  
Be well,
To view the rest of OhioNET’s March 2021 newsletter, click here

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