Friday, March 20, 2009

Diversity and Librarianship: Hope Hosts CARL-DIAL Meeting

Members of the CARL-DIAL South Interest Group

Diversity is a common concern in most business forums. Libraries are no exception. Librarians know that diverse populations enhance work relations, productivity and enrichment of culture. Institutions of higher education that serve students, staff and faculty from diverse people groups know that diversity within the academic library is a great strength of the institution.

The Diversity in Academic Libraries (DIAL) interest group of the California chapter of the American Library Association’s Academic and Research Libraries group (CARL) is committed to "advocate equality and diversity, primarily for racial/ethnic communities but also other diverse populations within the library profession and academic libraries." As a member of CARL-DIAL South, our Acquisitions Manager (a brand new professional librarian), Sarah Kimakwa, participates in the planning of activities that promote these objectives in the Southern California region.

On Friday March 20, 2009, Hope International University hosted members of the CARL-DIAL South interest group. The agenda was to plan a conference open to all California academic librarians scheduled for May 29 at USC. The conference will focus on reaching out to first generation college students. DIAL members met at HIU to plan the program to address the psychological, emotional, and cultural issues that first generation college students face.

Dr. Steve Edgington, VP of Academic Affairs, welcomed the members to campus and Robin Hartman, Director of Library Services, addressed the group briefly before they commenced with the business of the day. She affirmed the mission and objectives of the group calling it a “watchdog organization” of the American Library Association which helps the profession make practical steps toward its goals. “It’s easy to say you’re committed to diversity. It’s more difficult to implement it. It’s a systemic problem that can only be addressed intentionally by groups [such as DIAL].”

"As a former student and now a new and upcoming librarian it has always been my desire to help and reach out to the less fortunate people of our community. I feel that as a former international student from a less developed country and having worked with many communities around the world, I feel that I have a responsibility to share my knowledge and skills with these populations."

"After completing my MLIS degree in December 2008, I had to quickly affiliate myself with an association that would help me in my professional development and one whose mission and objectives are very dear to me personally. It was almost a natural thing for me to join CARL DIAL--first meeting was the day I submitted my final paper in the program. I thought this was such a good coincidence and a nice welcome into the librarianship profession. I have a niche in serving populations that are underserve-—based on the long tail theory these people are many."

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