Diversity Initiative: Stronger Together

During the August 2020 Executive Council and Board of Directors meetings, a new MASL diversity initiative was approved, Stronger Together.

MASL supports diversity in libraries by encouraging and highlighting diverse books, authors, and information sources. But we must do more than that.  Our goal is to create a pipeline for minority people to become librarians.  By focusing on the pre-service teachers in Missouri, we will share the role of school librarians, and discuss the importance of diversity to reflect the population of students in Missouri.

RAINBOW LIBRARY

In addition to the Stronger Together campaign, MASL is partnering with Rainbow Library based in Connecticut.  The Rainbow Library Community Reads Project is an initiative that sends LGBTQ+ affirming K-12 text sets to schools and libraries.  For the initial year of funding MASL has a goal of raising $20,000 from individuals, supporting companies and private donors.  MASL funds will not be used for this campaign.

To donate towards the efforts, please click here.  To learn more about the Rainbow Library, please visit https://www.rainbowlibrary.org/.

PLAN FOR STRONGER TOGETHER CAMPAIGN

Initial Steps (Year 1 & 2):

  • Visit colleges throughout Missouri, utilizing regional organizations, to talk with pre-service teachers to explain what school librarianship looks like today and the need for diverse representation.
  • Create, select, and advertise the MASL scholarship to support minority people to complete a LIS/MLIS degree.
  • Create, select, and advertise a scholarship and/or modified price for minority people to attend MASL’s spring conference.
  • Seek out opportunities to speak with high school students looking at future careers about becoming a school librarian.
  • Create a statement that realizes the role libraries have played in maintaining the status quo, upholding systemic racism, and how we will continue to fight to change this so that libraries support all people in our service area.  
  • Create a checklist for Award books
  • Promote diversity at regional meetings.

Leaning In (years 3 & 4):

  • Create suggested guidelines for school districts to select and hire diverse candidates for library positions.
  • Create a mentor program for people interested in becoming a librarian.  An established librarian will be connected with the interested party to provide observation opportunities, serve as a point of contact for guidance and questions, and help problem solve to support the future librarian’s transition to becoming a highly qualified librarian.
  • Create, implement, analyze and share results from a diversity assessment of librarians in the state of Missouri.
  • Identify systems within education of librarians, and supported by school librarians that support oppression.  Suggest ways that these systems can be improved to support minority people, and bring those people into leadership roles.