Ongoing efforts to increase diversity and inclusion within Canada’s public sector continue—the library industry included. By prioritizing inclusivity and working to reflect the demographics of their communities, libraries have the potential to drive equitable change.
One recent survey revealed the ability to foster equity, diversity and inclusion is one of the top three skills necessary for library directors in 2020, up from 2019. Karim Boughida, Dean of University Libraries at the University of Rhode Island, expresses the importance of consulting experts to develop these skills and meaningful strategies to address systematic DEI issues.
Passionate about collaboration, inclusion, and diversity and always seeking opportunities to cooperate and build connections, Barrie Public Library reached out to Learning Snippets for guidance in this realm.
Aware of the gaps and challenges within the library industry, Barrie Public Library was eager to change the status quo. Their ultimate goal was to ensure their staff are well-equipped to support their colleagues and community, in turn continuing to foster an inclusive environment welcoming to all members of the community.
In their pursuit to achieve improved diversity and inclusion, Barrie Public Library was faced with three main challenges:
Partnering with Making Change, a not-for-profit organization, whose goal is to spark broad community interest and foster conversations around inclusion and diversity, and Camille Dundas, a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant, Barrie Public Library started their DEI journey. Participating in executive and all-staff custom training sessions, Dundas offered a historical perspective of the industry, highlighting ways libraries have upheld systematic oppression. Moving from reflection to action, she then provided tools to help employees create more equitable libraries, engage in allyship, address microaggressions and avoid bias in the hiring process.
Dialectic’s DEI-focused microlearning platform, Learning Snippets, helps build inclusive behaviours and offers a variety of courses to suit DEI training needs. The sole purpose of the scenario-based approach to learning is to drive real behaviour change. Having key takeaways from Dundas, employees were able to practice what they learned through consecutive programs:
For those that participated in the training sessions, what was the experience like?
Participants from Barrie Public Library reported having an excellent user experience. They found the scenarios engaging, interesting and looked forward to seeing new Snippets in their inbox. After the training, many reported feeling ready and motivated to participate in inclusive behaviours.
Most participants say that Learning Snippets made them think about DEI in a different way while increasing their confidence about handling DEI situations.
Once the training session was complete, employees began using the tools in their day -to-day. They had an increased desire to learn and felt ready to champion inclusivity in the workplace.
Learning Snippets also helped to boost these individuals’ awareness of anti-Black racism and provided them with actionable insights to help them shift to being more ready and motivated to begin their inclusion journey.