Leadership, Management and Organizational Development
Librarians of color not only need to be recruited into the profession, but also retained through efforts such as mentoring and community building. According to research by Peggy Johnson (2007), creating a community of practice for minority librarians can foster retention and be perceived positively by individuals who may feel outside the majority culture of most libraries. How then do we create communities for librarians of color?
The Spectrum Scholarship Program actively recruits and provides scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern and North African, and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students to assist them with obtaining a graduate degree and leadership positions within the profession and ALA. Since 1997, more than 1,000 library leaders have benefited from scholarships, community building, and opportunities to collectively advance equity, diversity, and inclusion. Spectrum’s 20th anniversary theme is A Celebration of Community – because more than anything else, that is what we are, a Community!
On this panel, you will hear from three Spectrum Advisory Committee (SAC) members about the roles and responsibilities of the committee and strategies for building community amongst Spectrum recipients. Activities are designed to increase participation and leadership, and promote the interests and concerns of our community. We encourage communication through newer social media tools like Slack and are piloting new initiatives such as the “Ask an Alumni” online chat series, in which past scholars answer questions from the current cohort of scholars. Topics include networking and connecting with other LIS professionals, and tips for attending conferences. Another new initiative is the online Spectrum Event Planning form which encourages scholars to organize and share local and conference meetups, gatherings and networking opportunities. To support our 20 year celebration, our alumni Champions are giving back by rebuilding connections within each cohort, expanding local networks of librarians of color, and supporting one another in raising visibility and funds for the Spectrum Scholarship Program. This presentation is ideal for those interested in learning how to effectively build and engage community virtually and in-person.
Johnson, P. (2007). Retaining and advancing librarians of color. College and Research Libraries, 68(5), 405-417.