HCL and MIT Libraries Host Diversity Workshop

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A group of 31 visiting libarians and library students gather outside Lamont Library earlier this month. Students who took part in the two-day workshop visited HCL one day and MIT libraries another.

October 22, 2008 - In conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, HCL this month hosted "An Exploration of Academic Research Libraries" a two-day workshop which included 31 librarians and library students representing minority populations.

The workshop was part of a diversity program run by the Association of Research Libraries and the American Library Association, and included one day at Harvard and one day at MIT.

The aim, said Rebecca Graham, Associate Librarian of Harvard College for Preservation, Digitization and Administrative Services, was not only to give visiting librarians and students - who travelled from as far away as Hawaii and Los Angeles - an introduction to academic librarianship, but to reinforce the notion that diverse populations are welcome in academic libraries.

"Certainly you could say we're aware of the demographics in our profession," Graham said.

According to research by the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), the number of racial and ethnic minorities who graduate from library and information science programs has dropped in recent years. Researchers believe students from underrepresented backgrounds are choosing careers in special and public library at higher percentages than academic and research library careers in part due to relationships they build with special and public libraries while still in school.

"This program is a key element in our own commitment to building diversity in the profession," Graham said, of HCL.

As part of the workshop at HCL, program participants discussed collection development with HCL Associate Librarian for Collection Development Dan Hazen and librarians' roles in teaching and learning with Michael Hemment, the head of research and learning technology.

Other presenters included Nancy Cline, Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College, who gave program participants a history and overview of HCL, Graham, who discussed preservation and digitization, Harvard Library directors John Collins, Marilyn Dunn, Kathy Martinez and Hugh Wilburn, and Administrative Fellows Claudia Hill, Emilyn Brown, Daryl Boone, Cailyn Boyd and Theresa Malonzo.

Students also toured Widener and Houghton libraries, as well as the Imaging Services and Conservation labs in Widener.

Those who participated in the workshop were: Yi Jin, George Gottschalk, Manju Tanwar, Michael Creedon, Christina Thach, Lynn Li, Helen Snowden, Tina Chan, Francis Reyes, Jose Rivera, Bergis Jules, Roshin Mathew, Glenda B. Claborne, Marcellaus Joiner, Maria Casado, Sara Abdmishani, Lianne Valerio, Yesenia Figueroa, Madel Tisi, Aimee Babcock-Ellis, Kaleo Veary, Caroline Caviness, Stephen Chan, Amina S. Kangiwa, Jason Yamashita, Jennifer Blakely, Annie Patrick, Nancy Gistover, Brenda Linares, Henrique Coelho and Claudia Moore.