I was asked to speak on a panel put together by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom at the 2015 National Conference of African American Librarians in St. Louis, MO. I sat on the panel with Kim Patton, Roland Barksdale-Hall, and Adriana McCleer; the panel was moderated by Kristin Pekoll and Shumeca Pickett. The program focused on the challenges against diverse titles as well as other issues affecting their inclusion in community libraries.
I spoke specifically on the perspective of materials selectors and our need to a) be aware of the privilege in our role and b) actively combat systemic biases that disproportionately affect how we collect, promote, and talk about books by authors of diverse backgrounds and abilities. My portion of the talk was based on my blog post from February 2015, “Selection is Privilege.”