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ACRL 2021: Ascending into an Open Future

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Conference Proceeding

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Ascending into an Open Future: Proceedings from ACRL 2021 Virtual Conference

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You are a person interested in equity, diversity, and inclusion (or EDI), so you are excited to attend conference sessions that have the words equity, diversity, and inclusion in the titles and descriptions. However, these panels are not always what you expect. They mean all learning styles are equal. They mean the participants come from a diversity of places. They mean libraries should include more civility between colleagues. If you are a librarian whose professional interest is firmly rooted in EDI, you wonder how conference presenters can use these words without realizing that they have scholarly significance to those who engage in this work every day. These presentations could be from any library conference at any time in the last fifteen years. It goes beyond the scope of this paper, but we suspect this applies to professional development in many fields: the words equity, diversity, and inclusion have been bleached of their EDI meanings.


Equity; Diversity; Inclusion; Critique


Library and Information Science

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864 KB

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This video was originally created for the ACRL 2021 virtual conference. Note that at 10:24 there is an error on the "Findings" slide. It should say 5.2% of ACRL 2007 was non-semantically bleached EDI sessions. The corrected chart is in the contributed paper. The original ACRL 2021 session description: Which conferences should academic librarians interested in equity, diversity, and inclusion attend? If they go to a general library conference, will there be enough EDI-related content for them? If they go to a diversity focused conference, will there be anything about higher education? Using descriptive coding, we analyzed conference program titles and descriptions to see how much academic librarianship is at the Joint Conference for Librarians of Color and how much EDI is at ACRL. As tenure-track librarians of color, we have found ourselves torn between presenting at the most respected conference (ACRL) or presenting at the conference where our community is (JCLC). Although other research examines conference content, this is the first looking at equity, diversity, and inclusion in any way. Attendees will understand how the scholarly conversation around EDI has changed over the past decade. We hope this research will inform future conference planning in librarianship.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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