Fostering an Antiracist Library Culture September 2021

Course Overview

Library staff at all levels within their organizations have the power—and the responsibility—to help cultivate an antiracist culture, from evaluating spaces, programs, services, and collections to examining policies and practices to reflecting on one’s own implicit biases. Creating an internal culture founded on principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion is essential to building a community-centered library that meets the needs and expectations of its users.

In this course, you will learn about the concrete actions library leaders are taking to make their libraries antiracist today and in the future, and the tools that make it possible. Practical coursework, along with targeted support, will take you from theory to application, helping you to transform your library services to better meet the needs of all your patrons—and attract new ones.

You’ll complete assignments to build your own equity-based initiative over 3+ weeks in an interactive online classroom environment with personal coaching from an expert in the field. In addition, you’ll have access to our foundational bonus content—rich supporting materials you can explore at your own pace, including a series of webinars from Library Journal and School Library Journal contributors,  readings, activities, and videos.

The transformational speaker program has given thousands of librarians the tools and vision for meaningful change. The live sessions run on Tuesdays, September 28, October 5, and 12, from 2:00-4:00pm ET (recordings available) with an ongoing facilitator-led workshop over 3 weeks. Don’t miss this opportunity!

When you attend this interactive online course, you’ll come away with:  

  • The tools necessary to audit current library programs, staffing, equity statements, collections, and more through a culturally competent, antiracist lens

  • The ability to assess the inclusiveness of current collection development and RA practices, acquisitions, marketing, plus assessing scheduling practices, branch hours, and staff hiring and retention

  • The ability to recognize common problematic stereotypes, tropes, and microaggressions in media

  • A refresher on key diversity and cultural literacy concepts such as white privilege, unconscious bias, cultural appropriation, and intersectionality


By registering for this event you confirm that you have read and agree to our Code of Conduct.


The course features live guest speakers in interactive sessions with Q&A as well as self-guided assignments, readings, and weekly discussion topics to support deeper learning. You’ll work in small groups with facilitators experienced in anti-oppression work to complete assignments and field research that will fuel your diversity initiatives.

Inspiring Live Guest Speakers + Project-Based Learning

Engage with presenters via live video stream, visual presentations, and chats, and workshop practical solutions in groups, with guidance from an advisor, to map out your own equity and inclusion initiatives. You’ll leave with well-developed strategies designed to make a lasting impact on your community.

Online Course Features

  • Instructor-led online course features personalized interaction over three weeks

  • Real-time guest speakers and conversation via live webcast (with recordings available afterward)

  • Self-guided track with video lessons and supporting resources in the online classroom to provide a foundation for your work

  • Homework assignments to help you make progress on your goals

  • Individualized attention from course facilitators who work with you in a coaching environment to help sort out challenges

  • Ongoing group conversation via discussion forums

  • Articles, videos, and other resources

  • Access all course content for six months after the course ends

  • Bonus: Register early and get immediate access to archival video recordings from related courses and other bonus content

Who should take this course

This workshop and speaker program is excellent for anyone who works at a public, academic or school library, regardless of job title.

Also Available On-Demand! 

Can’t make a live session? All sessions will be available to you “on-demand” following the initial broadcast.

Certificate of Completion Provided
15 PD credits available

Course Advisory Committee

We are grateful to the following library leaders for providing their  guidance and recommendations for the course speaker program and curriculum.

Andrea Blackman, Chief Diversity Officer, City of Nashville; former Special Collections Division Manager, Nashville Public Library (TN)

Robin Bradford, Collection Development Librarian, Pierce County Library System (WA)

Michelle Khuu, Experiential Learning Specialist, Skokie Public Library (IL)

Max Macias, Independent Librarian

Hadeal Salamah, Hijabi Librarians; Lower and Middle School Librarian, Georgetown Day School, Washington (DC)



Part 1: Tuesday, September 28, 2021, 2-4 pm ET

Session 1 | 2:00-2:45 pm ET

Dismantling White Supremacy in the Library
Learn how white supremacy is baked into our institutions and how it manifests on individual and systemic levels in this insightful session. You’ll learn how to spot both explicit and implicit racism and identify white supremacy at work. You will come away with a deeper understanding of how to dismantle white supremacy from your sphere of influence, both within the LIS, and beyond it.
Speaker: Andrea Blackman, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, City of Nashville (TN)

Intermission | 2:45-3:00 pm ET

Session 2 | 3:00-3:45 pm ET

Unpacking and Challenging Implicit Bias
Combatting racism and injustice in the information and library sciences requires ongoing commitment and personal investment. Part of this work relies on understanding the ways our individual privilege and biases function interpersonally and within larger systems. In this session, you’ll learn how implicit bias shapes the culture of our libraries, how to make biases visible and therefore addressable, and what your role is in cultivating a welcoming and inclusive environment at your library. You’ll also learn about how to identify stereotypes, microaggressions, and more.
Speaker: Tarica LaBossiere, Assistant Public Defender, Broward County Office of the Public Defender, Fort Lauderdale (FL), Member of the American Association of Law Libraries

Session 3 | 3:45-4:15 pm ET

The Equity Landscape in LIS
In this session, you’ll learn about the state of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the library and information sciences, including a discussion of Critical Race Theory and its place in LIS.
Speaker: To be announced soon

Part 2: Tuesday, October 5 2021, 2-4 pm ET

Session 1 | 2:00-2:45

Creating Antiracist Library Programming
Learn how to assess your library programs and services and develop a plan of action for the future. We’ll take you through how to audit your current programming, establish a protocol for your audit, and what to do with the results once you have them, in this session designed to help you tackle gaps in your programming and address barriers to access in your community.
Speaker: Kimberly Brown-Harden, Community Branch Manager, Indianapolis Public Library (IN)

Intermission | 2:45-3:00 pm ET

Session 2 | 3:00-3:30 pm ET

Building Diverse Collections
In this session, an expert librarian will discuss how you can assess the level of equity at your library by conducting regular audits of collections, displays, and ordering. This vital work will help you align offerings to community needs, identify gaps in service, and set benchmarks for equity, inclusion, and diversity. You will learn how to perform a diversity audit, including which salient data points should be included, how to gather the requisite information, how to set goals to address gaps, and how to make diversity and inclusion integral parts of collection management and promotion.
Speaker: Dontaná McPherson-Joseph, Collection Management Librarian, Oak Park Public Library (IL)

Session 3 | 3:30-4:15 pm ET

Antibias/Antiracist Hiring Practices and Recruitment
Creating an antiracist culture at your library must involve consideration of staff culture and hiring practices. In this session, you’ll learn how to develop and implement antiracist/antibias recruitment and hiring practices (including antiracist interviewing and candidate selection), steps to take toward fostering inclusive workplaces, and how to conduct an organizational talent equity audit at your own library.
Sojourna J. Cunningham
, Social Sciences and Assessment Librarian, Boatwright Memorial Library, University of Richmond (VA)
Jennifer Stout, Teaching and Learning Librarian, Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries, Richmond (VA)
Samantha Guss, Social Sciences Librarian, Boatwright Memorial Library, University of Richmond (VA)

Part 3 - Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 2-4 pm ET

Session 1 | 2:00-2:45 pm ET
Engaging Your Local Community in Antiracism Work
Learn how connecting with your community and its past can open up rich conversations about the future in this inspiring session. This session will include an exploration of how librarians can use their institutions’ collections and resources to help patrons, students, and community members explore, critically analyze, and combat systemic racism, how librarians can apply an antiracist lens to engaging their communities, and how to use community engagement as a tool to transform their organization into an antiracist one.
Speaker: Angel Jewel Tucker, Youth Services Manager, Johnson County Library, Overland Park (KS)

Session 2 | 2:45-3:15 pm ET

Antiracism as ROI
The more we invest in antiracism, the more we will get out of our libraries. With the stagnation of a workforce that is over 80% white, libraries need to commit to including new voices and perspectives in our spaces. With an influx of new influences, concepts, and processes that BIPOC and other historically underrepresented people bring to the workforce, there will be a great advance in innovative thinking, new ways of doing things and new directions for our libraries. In this session, you’ll learn how antiracism, purely on its ROI, is a great way to go with public resources. 
Speaker: Max Macias, Independent Librarian

Intermission | 3:15-3:30 pm ET

Session 2 | 3:30-4:15 pm ET

How To Create Impactful Change (Or: Doing the Work Even if You’re the Only One Doing It)
In this closing session of our course, you’ll learn how to make valuable change from within your sphere of influence, regardless of your institutional support system or lack thereof. You’ll learn practical ways to navigate organizational politics and power structures and come away with ideas for where to go next, now that you have the tools you need to dig deeper into cultivating actively antiracist practices at your library. 
Speaker: Nikhat Jehan Ghouse, Associate Librarian for the Social Sciences and Coordinator of the Diversity Alliance Residency Program, American University (DC) and Organization Development Consultant and Facilitator, Jehan Consulting

Andrea Blackman, Chief Diversity Officer, City of Nashville; former Special Collections Division Manager, Nashville Public Library (TN)

Robin Bradford, Collection Development Librarian, Pierce County Library System (WA)

Michelle Khuu, Experiential Learning Specialist, Skokie Public Library (IL)

Max Macias, Independent Librarian

Hadeal Salamah, Hijabi Librarians; Lower and Middle School Librarian, Georgetown Day School, Washington (DC)



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