Earlier this month the LLNE Executive Board and LLNE Committee members were invited to engage in a two day retreat on the topic of antiracism. It is hard to take out 2 days of your schedule and make yourself available for intense volunteer work, but many of our amazing board members and volunteers did; some while on reference duty; and some on mommy duty. Beyond just showing up, those that attended engaged with the work, for which I am grateful.
The speaker on the first day of the retreat was Dr. Raul Fernandez who is the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at BU’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development and a lecturer in Wheelock’s Higher Education Administration program. He was phenomenal. (I recorded the talk and am free to share it with members if any of you are interested!). The remainder of the retreat was spent on thinking about big ways and small ways we can make our organization and its policies antiracist and more inclusive.
In 2020, our board released a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement where we stated:
We therefore want you to know we are committed to systemic change and doing work which furthers equity, access, and justice for the Black community not only in our country, but within our organization.
This was a statement condemning acts of violence and committing ourselves to the work of systemic change. We released the statement because we thought it critical to affirm our beliefs. It is also an invitation to hold the organization and its leaders responsible for following through on its statement. The statement was a promise to do more and do better.
The work of the new Diversity and Inclusion Working Group is one way we are upholding our promise. This retreat was another. Our work will continue throughout this Spring.
One of the themes that surfaced at the retreat was that the organization needs to be more open and inclusive when selecting leaders. Another way of expressing this is that our organization needs to choose leaders in a different, and more transparent, way. We need to recruit beyond our own networks of colleagues and instead post position descriptions and open calls for volunteers in a more intentional way. This may not yield instant results but it may set the tone for a more inclusive professional organization.
One way this can begin is through the organization’s yearly nomination process. The first step in this journey is selecting members of the LLNE Nominating Committee.
The Nominating Committee currently has room for 2 volunteers. If anyone is interested, please email me. As described below, the duties are fairly limited and the tasks completed in about 2 months.
Below is the description of the Nominating Committee charge:
1. Members of the Nominating Committee are appointed by the President in consultation with the Executive Committee at least ninety days prior to the annual meeting. Three in number, the members should represent a cross-section of library types and states in the Chapter. The Chairperson should be a previous member of the Committee. Members hold office for a term of one year.
2. Committee members shall develop a list of candidates who are knowledgeable, dedicated to improving the profession, have an interest in the chapter and its goals, and have a willingness to serve. In developing the slate of candidates, the Committee shall attempt to give representation to each state and library type when possible.
3. The Committee develops a priority list of candidates for each office and approaches each candidate about his/her willingness to serve.
4. Once the slate of candidates has been finalized, the Chairperson notifies the President at least sixty days prior to the annual meeting. Although additional nominations may be made directly to the President (see Article VI of the LLNE Bylaws), the slate generally includes one candidate for each office.
5. After the President has been notified, the Committee Chairperson sends a copy of the Committee Report to the editor of LLNE News for publication at least thirty days prior to the annual meeting.
I am the president of LLNE for the next 6 months and I hope that during this time, and beyond, we all can work to make LLNE a better organization. I am open to hearing about ways this can be done. I invite you to email me or call me to discuss your thoughts. I invite you to hold us accountable for our actions and our statements.
Finally, thanks should also go to the D&I working group members and leaders for their work. Also, there was a lot of behind the scenes work that was done by Christie, Mike, and Rachel to make the retreat happen that I am thankful for.
Nicole P. Dyszlewski