The Office of Library & Information Services hosted an Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Summit on August 7, 2019 with support from the RI Library Association, Cornucopia of Rhode Island, and the University of RI Graduate School of Library & Information Studies at the University of Rhode Island's Carother's Library. 80 librarians and library staff from all types of libraries across Rhode Island came together to listen to speakers working in the EDI field, discuss implicit bias, and brainstorm ideas for action. This summit was meant to be a launch for a statewide conversation amongst the library community that will continue through additional professional development, workshops and other EDI initiatives.
Loren Spears is not only the executive director of Tomaquag Museum, she is also an educator, activist, author, and Indigenous artist. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1989 and master’s degree from the University of New England with a focus on elementary education. She founded the Nuweetooun School affiliated with the Tomaquag Museum (closed in 2010 due to flooding) and was a teacher in Newport public schools for 12 years. A 2017 winner of the Tom Roberts Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities from the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities, she was honored for her “compelling work as an advocate of Indigenous People’s history and cultural heritage in preservation, the arts, and education.” In 2010, Spears was named as one of 11 Extraordinary Women honorees for teaching and education.
Diversity Talks aims to increase the cultural competency of adults by fostering a healing space for adults and youth to have culturally relevant and responsive conversations. The organization offers an array of in-person services for schools, colleges and businesses, influencing over 1000 participants to date.
During the Diversity Summit, two simultaneous sessions on Implicit Bias were facilitated by teen facilitators to examine personal and cultural identity, and the ways in which implicit bias is impacted by cognitive, social and environmental factors.
Cheryl Burrell, Associate Director of the Rhode Island Office of Diversity, Equity and Opportunity facilitated a panel of representatives from RI non-profit organizations doing work on equity, diversity, and inclusion with a variety of populations.
All participating organizations are available to partner with libraries, whether to provide training, public programs or other services.
Using a combination Design Thinking Activity and the discussion protocol Crowdsource 25-10, participants in the EDI Summit had a chance to generate ideas for action around the question, "How might we challenge our personal and systemic biases to affect organization-level changes when we return to our libraries?" Following a Design Thinking Approach, attendees had time to work alone to generate as many ideas for action as possible, then worked in groups to discuss and cluster their ideas. From there, attendees selected the idea they felt was both impactful and achievable for the Crowdsource 25-10 activity, during which ideas where swapped and rated for their potential impact and practicality.
The Crowdsource 25-10 activity generated 11 top ideas with scores between 23 and 25 out of 25 potential points. Below are PDFs of the top 11 ideas, the topics for further consideration that arose from the clustering activity, the slide deck for the activity, and instructions for running a Crowdsource 25-10 activity.