We had our first official event yesterday (21st May 2018) when we attended a committee meeting of the CILIP regional member network for Yorkshire and Humberside, where we introduced DILON and had an interesting discussion about diversity in the profession…
- Each regional member network has an Equality and Inclusion Officer (the YH Officer could not attend this meeting) and the committee wondered if there could be more support for this role with some targets set and advice from central CILIP HQ.
- We did notice that we were the only non-white faces in the room and this was acknowledged round the table as an issue with recruitment to the committee. At the recent CILIP Member Network Forum, regional groups were told they will soon have access to some data about their members and this should aid them in recruiting more diversely, not just in terms of race but also sector, region and across other minority groups.
- We spoke about the reception we have had from central CILIP and our disappointment in their lack of action in recent years.
- Some recent CILIP initiatives were mentioned such as the Diversity Review of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals – you can complete a survey about this here. Although we are pleased to see this (yay diverse books 😊) these types of actions perhaps make CILIP seem like they are dedicated to improving diversity but no true action is taken to make structural changes to the workforce. Bit of a quick win IMHO…
- The oft-mentioned new BAME Special Interest Group was mentioned and it was clarified that CILIP members no longer need to pay to join these groups, so no BAME people would be unfairly penalised for joining. Phew!
- We asked committee members to not just consider diversity as part of their CILIP role, but also in their workplaces and urged them to raise it as an issue where appropriate. Some great discussions came out of this, with someone mentioning a library visit to their university Faith Centre and our general agreement that where there is diversity, those people are often found in lower graded roles.
- Finally, we raised the issue of being an ally and that even though we are part of DILON, we are not experts. Rather, it is the responsibility of everyone to push for a more inclusive workforce and before asking us what can be done, librarians should ask themselves.
The committee were incredibly welcoming and keen to listen to us, and we look forward to working with them in the future. A big special thank you to David for inviting us for to Owen for contacting us about events. Thanks CILIP YH!
Here at DILON we are happy to speak at meetings and events if we are able (but please remember we are not able to magically improve diversity in your area 🤷♀️) – please email Jen at email@example.com
Jen Bayjoo @epicbayj