“I know someone that will be able to supply me with names of people to pursue,” which prejudices the white-centered hire. In the final thoughts the leaders shared: ask for advice; proactively reach out to employees to be a mentor/sponsor/coach for people of color to advance in their careers; support each other; find and utilize allies.
ACRL did an amazing job creating and implementing this virtual conference, yet I struggled mightily with the format. It was a challenge to keep up with both work and the conference, and I just could not bring myself to participate in the online social events. But as always, the content of the conference was incredible. The most meaningful sessions for me all revolved around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. “Systemic Oppression Requires Systemic Change: Recasting the Roles of Academic Libraries in Contemporary Contexts” presented by librarians Jennifer Brown, Jennifer Ferretti, and Charlotte Roh. The powerful examples they shared from their work creating and running WeHere will stay with me long after the conference.
Another amazing session titled “Under Pressure: Rethinking How We Teach Plagiarism” by Laura Tadena and Natalie Hill helped me see an entirely new approach to teaching plagiarism that focused on the politics of citations, and how citation disproportionately privileges white and male voices at the expense of others. Additionally, “So You Hit a Paywall: Introducing Undergraduates to Information Privilege” by Cara Evanson and Meggie Lasher, both from Davidson College, had some great ideas for using student’s frustrations with paywalls to teach about access and information privilege. The last session I’ll mention, “If..Then…Else: Algorithmic Systems, Bias, Knowledge Structuring, and Our Epistemic Crisis” by Ian O’Hara, really dug into the crisis created by algorithms and what that means for us all.
I learned just as much, if not more from this ACRL as I did from other F2F ACRL conferences, and while the format may have presented new challenges, the content of ACRL 2021 addressed many long-standing challenges that we need to keep working to resolve!