Figuring Out Where to Start, and How: One Library’s DEI Strategies

  • Crystal Garcia Sherwood Public Library
  • Adrienne Doman Calkins Sherwood Public Library
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Abstract

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) can fall into the category of big, deep thoughts. It can seem daunting to improve DEI at an institutional level. How do we go from abstract, and even overwhelming ideas, to tangible goals and objectives with timelines, budgets and workflows? At Sherwood Public Library, nestled in the southern end of Portland Metro and Washington County, we implemented specific DEI objectives in our strategic plan and in the Edge Assessment. With a staff of 11 FTE serving a community of 22,000 people, we found ways to make the right-sized goals that would stretch our collective and individual comfort zones, and still fit within our capacity for staff time and funds.

Sherwood’s demographics and diversity are changing, but not as fast as the rest of our region. In a city where 9 out of every 10 people are white and nearly everyone speaks English, we wanted to incorporate DEI objectives into our library as a way to open windows into other backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives--just as much as we wanted to provide mirrors for the diverse members of our own community. A DEI lens helped revitalize our library, increase usage, and improve relevance in profound ways--strengthening our collection development, programs and events, the facility, services, technology, staff and board development, and hiring practices.

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Author Biographies

Crystal Garcia, Sherwood Public Library

Crystal Garcia has worked at the Sherwood Public Library since 2007. She is a member of REFORMA Oregon and co-chair of the OLA Oregon Authors Committee. She holds a BA in English from Linfield College and an MLS from Emporia State University. It is her passion and privilege to engage in the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the library landscape.

Adrienne Doman Calkins, Sherwood Public Library

Adrienne Doman Calkins has been the Library Manager at Sherwood Public Library for five years and has 25+ years of library experience from public and academic libraries in Oregon and Washington State. She is a member of the OLA Public Library Standards committee and a volunteer for the OLA resume and cover letter review program. She believes in the power of libraries to change lives, has passion for mentoring and training, assessment, information visualization and equity work in libraries.

Published
2019-10-28
How to Cite
Garcia, C., & Doman Calkins, A. (2019). Figuring Out Where to Start, and How: One Library’s DEI Strategies. OLA Quarterly, 25(2), 22-28. https://doi.org/10.7710/1093-7374.1988