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Andromeda Yelton's picture

being more inclusive

Abigail Goben (chair of LITA PPC) blogged about Forum'12 this past weekend: http://hedgehoglibrarian.com/2012/10/09/open-access-tenure-why-are-you-h...


For the most part she enjoyed it, but apparently a lot of people were confused as to why someone who isn't a web services/systems/emerging tech librarian would be at Forum at all.  Hm.  Has anyone else heard about people having this experience?  How can we combat it?  I definitely want ALL librarians who are interested in technology to feel like Forum has a niche for them, no matter their job description.

Ken Varnum's picture

I didn't hear any similar conversations or comments while there. In fact, I ran into a number of librarians without any particular technology responsibiilties who where there to learn, explore, and share. I suspect that the tone of the questions she received was more poorly-executed conversation-starters , but of course I wasn't party to them, so that's just an opinion.

Andromeda Yelton's picture

If the answer is "this is an isolated incident and most people don't have that experience", that is an even better answer :)

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2019; President-Elect, 2017-2018

Elizabeth Stewart-Marshall's picture

There isn't a lot we can do about fellow librarians' perceptions of what a technologist looks like other than to be ourselves.

I have found that the best way to combat having a lack of diversity in the attendees is to have diversity in the content.  Keep in mind your desired audience when you are reviewing the proposals.

Also, think about where you are posting the call for proposals - if you want to attract proposals that are not from the usual sources, post widely.

From a promotional point of view, maybe we could get some "endorsements" from previous attendees who have job titles that are not the traditional ones and feature those on the website.

Zoe Stewart-Marshall

LITA Past President (2013-2014)

Andromeda Yelton's picture

Thanks for weighing in. Definitely wanted to hear your perspective on this.

Question on posting the CFP.  Are there conflict-of-interest problems with personally/individually asking people to consider submitting?  Don't want to overstep my bounds, and of course I'd be clear that an invitation to submit carries no implication of approval, but everything I've seen about increasing speaker diversity says that you really need to personally approach people who don't see themselves as the usual suspects.  So I want a gut check on this.

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2019; President-Elect, 2017-2018

Ken Varnum's picture

I think part of our job is to beat the bushes for proposals. As long as we're clear that it's an invitation to be considered, not an invitation to speak, I think it's good.

Jennifer E. Taylor's picture

No, there is no conflict of interest in personally/individually asking people to consider submitting.  However, if you assist someone in writing a proposal or feel closely tied to the person submitting it (a close colleague or friend), the it would be professional to excuse yourself from the discussion and voting of that proposal.