Workplace Racial Equity Symposium: Review and Highlights

The CALL grant is fortunate to have a group of advisors who volunteer to provide input, feedback and guidance as we work towards our goal of quality professional development for California public libraries. With all that is available in the world of continuing education, it is sometimes hard to separate the wheat from the chaff! So we asked some of our advisors to help us assess a few of the resources that have particular relevance at this time. First up – Elaine Tai (Adult Services Librarian, Burlingame Public Library), and Krista Riggs (Library Director, Madera County Library) review the Denver Public Library Workplace Racial Equity Symposium which they both attended in July, 2020.

To help them frame their responses, we provided a series of questions related to California libraries and the CALL grant. Below are Elaine (ET) and Krista’s (KR) responses and a plethora of value added information for your benefit!

Does the content of this resource meet the priorities identified by California libraries?

ET:I pretty much enjoyed this entire symposium. A lot of amazing panelists and discussions, and people in the chat sharing their own experiences. “Preparing and Planning,” “EDI and HR,” and “Equity, Evaluation, and Accountability” might be the sessions/speakers most fitting for our purposes. They addressed a lot of concerns in regards to how libraries address EDI and the experiences of BIPOC folks in libraries.

KR:Yes, the sessions align with many of the non-COVID CALL hot topics. Such priorities include equity, DIY workshops, community engagement, emerging technologies, planning for the future, and human connection at all levels.

Is it easily accessible (i.e. scheduling, format, etc.)?

ET: Yes, webinars on the website or youtube, with some prereading or considerations as they expect people to go in with some basic knowledge of EDI work. Relying on Denver Public Library to maintain access. Some of the speakers could be worth contacting for solo presentations, e.g. Celeste Martinez presented on the I’s of Oppression at Future of Libraries, and various other speakers also speak on antiracism work.

KR: Yes, the live conference was only three partial days. The ‘replays’ are available online.

Is it reasonably priced?

ET: Free!
KR: Yes! As Elaine said – free!

Who is the best person to contact for additional information?

ET:Ozy Aloziem, who managed the conference and is now the EDI Manager at DPL
KR:Ozy Aloziem and/or Michelle Jeske from the Denver Public Library

Does it build on any other current initiatives in California?

ET:CREI has worked to train and assist cohort libraries to establish racial equity plans and provide context for why libraries must do this work. However the symposium provides additional considerations for how we can do this work and speaks to how we prepare and what must be expected.

KR: Yes, I think it builds on CREI, on the GARE report that CA libraries participated in, and on the Building Equity Based Summers initiative, plus the growing need for all libraries to reconsider practices through an equity lens.

I’d highly recommend the entire conference to anyone and everyone. I especially appreciated authentic voices, hearing from people from other sectors/ professions, and the poetry and music that set the tone and provided unity, engagement, and release throughout an emotionally-charged topic. Well done, DPL!

Additional information and links provided by Ozy Aloziem

· All replays for the symposium can be found here.
Resource lists & Reflections : 
· Here is the excel spreadsheet with all of the resources mentioned during the symposium.
· Here is a copy of the jeopardy game that we played. 
· Here are reflections and resources as compiled by WebJunction 
· Here is an article about the symposium written by Mahnaz Dar
· Here is a write-up about the symposium written by DPL 
· A Spotify playlist with songs played during the symposium can be found here.
· A Youtube playlist with songs played during the symposium can be found here.
Closed Captioning & Virtual Networking 
· This is a link to the live closed captioning service we used:
· This is the software for virtual networking:

Workplace Racial Equity Symposium: Review and Highlights