Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The Special Libraries Association is committed to equity in access to information, in availability of opportunities, and in the treatment of our members, our industry partners, and all with whom we engage and interact.
Following are some of the steps SLA has taken and continues to take to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) environment for its members and partners:
Diversity Inclusion Community Equity (DICE) Community
SLA’s DICE Community, created in 2018, develops and shares resources to promote equity in the association and the profession and provides a space for open discussion of these topics. The DICE website includes a calendar of SLA and non-SLA events related to diversity and equity, discussions about topics such as land acknowledgements and algorithmic bias, and a history of diversity within SLA.
Among the resources the DICE Community has developed are Guidelines for Choosing Diverse Speakers and a Checklist of Webpage Guidelines. In addition, DICE created an SLA-wide climate survey in early 2020 to (1) capture the voices and experiences of SLA members, (2) determine the extent to which members feel SLA is inclusive, and (3) identify the level and types of discrimination that occur within SLA. A session at the 2020 Annual Conference presented key findings from the climate survey, followed by a discussion of how to use the findings to create a better, more inclusive SLA.
SLA’s anti-harassment policy establishes a zero-tolerance threshold for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. SLA is committed to enforcing its anti-harassment policy vigorously, consistently, and objectively at, and in connection with, all SLA events.
Education and Training
SLA presents a variety of DEI-related learning programs, both association-wide and within its communities. Recent DEI programs include the following:
- What Would You Do? Strategies for Dealing with Implicit Bias in the Workplace
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives at Library Associations
- Social Justice and Bringing Change
The SLA 2020 Annual Conference featured several sessions addressing aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion, including the following:
- Do You Belong in SLA? A Report on the SLA Climate Survey;
- Fostering Diversity in Science: Physics Roundtable;
- Fighting Bias, One Search at a Time; and
- Witnessing Whiteness in LIS.
Recordings of the conference sessions and the online presentations are available for viewing in the SLA Learning Hub.
Statement against Racism and Unequal Treatment
In a statement issued in June 2020, SLA committed to identifying opportunities to take a leadership role in eliminating racism and instilling greater respect for centering the ideas and voices of those who have been excluded because of systematic racism in our profession.
“Going forward, we will use our voice not to echo, but to lead,” the statement says. “… Racism, intolerance, and unequal treatment of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and others who are not of the dominant culture are violations of human rights and are antithetical to the tenets of librarianship and the mission and values of SLA. We condemn racism and hate unequivocally, we assert that Black lives matter, and we resolve to use our resources to actively combat racism and white supremacy in the future and to work to reverse the effects of years of inequity.”
Statement Reaffirming Support for Asian and Pacific Islander Members
In the wake of a shooting rampage in March 2021 in Atlanta that killed eight people, including six Asian women, SLA reaffirmed its commitment to taking a leadership role in eliminating racism in the information profession.
“We all have a role in creating the community we want to be,” said 2021 SLA President Tara Murray Grove in a statement. “Let us all educate ourselves, listen to the voices of those who have been excluded and marginalized, and promote and share access to accurate information.”