In July 2020, then-President Abby Beaver created an ad hoc Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion committee to create an EDI statement for WLA and to recommend future activities related to EDI in Wyoming libraries. Volunteers met during fall 2020 and created an EDI statement that was adopted by the Executive Board in December 2020.
The committee will continue its work, including ensuring that resources and future activities are responsive to the needs of WLA members and updating the statement annually. They will also create and maintain information and resources pertaining to EDI initiatives on the WLA website, such as land acknowledgements, diversity audits, and policies that impact those affected by systemic racism and discrimination.For more information, contact Conrrado Saldivar.
WLA's EDI Committee hosted a Lunch-N-Learn series in February, March, and April 2023 for all interested Wyoming library staff.April 10 & 17, 2023
WLA President Conrrado Saldivar facilitated the training. The first week covered the definition of implicit bias and how to recognize our own biases. The second week included a discussion of how these biases appear in library work through microaggressions and how we can reduce these through micro-interventions.
March 6 & 13, 2023
The Foundations of Gender training was facilitated by Stephanie Brill, founder and board chair of Gender Spectrum. The first week included key concepts related to gender diversity and developed a shared vocabulary for talking about gender. The second week included the impact of gender-affirming language, spaces, and policies and how to create greater gender inclusivity at our libraries.
February 6 & 13, 2023
The Disability Inclusion training was facilitated by Wyoming-based non-profit Cultivate Ability. The first week included definitions of disability, disability history, importance of inclusion, disability etiquette and communication. The second week addressed disability stereotypes, averting ableism, and creating allyship goals.
[This] virtual space is intended to be a forum for discussion of ideas and for learning about differing viewpoints, not for debate.
In discussions of equity, diversity, and inclusion, it's important to understand that everyone sees and experiences the world differently-what seems "right" in your experience may not be so in someone else's. Everyone is asked to consider different perspectives, for the purpose of sensitivity, learning, and growth.
To that end, there are some guidelines for participating in this space that we ask that everyone follow. It will be helpful to read and review these guidelines prior to each meeting to help get people in the right frame of mind for these discussions. Please read WLA's EDI Statement as well.
Listen actively--respect others when they are talking, no interrupting.
Speak from your own experience instead of generalizing (Use "I" instead of "they," "we,"and "you").
Do not be afraid to respectfully challenge one another by asking questions, but refrain from personal attacks--focus on ideas.
Share responsibility for including all voices in the conversation. If you tend to have a lot to say, make sure you leave sufficient space to hear from others. If you tend to stay quiet in group discussions, challenge yourself to contribute so others can learn from you.
Understand that we are bound to make mistakes in this space, as anyone does when approaching complex tasks or learning new skills. Strive to see your mistakes and others’ as valuable elements of the learning process.
Understand that your words have effects on others. Speak with care. If you learn that something you’ve said was experienced as disrespectful or marginalizing, listen carefully and try to understand that perspective. Learn how you can do better in the future.
Notice your own defensive reactions and attempt to use these reactions as entry points for gaining deeper self-knowledge, rather than as a rationale for closing off.
Instead of invalidating somebody else's story with your own spin on their experience, share your own story and experience.
The goal is not to agree--it is to gain a deeper understanding.
Be conscious of body language and nonverbal responses--they can be as disrespectful as words. This can be difficult via Zoom, but feel free to turn off your camera if needed.
Not Experts: Facilitators from the EDI committee are not "experts." They are here to help facilitate the process. They and everyone in the group are here to learn. We also recognize that everyone has an opinion.
Ask for help: It's okay not to know. Keep in mind that we are all still learning and are bound to make mistakes when approaching a complex task or exploring new ideas. Be open to changing your mind, and make space for others to do so as well.
The Wyoming Library Association acknowledges that systemic racism and discrimination has harmed people in our communities, across our state, our country, and internationally. WLA commits to first looking inward and understanding how we got here and how we perpetuate these systems. With this knowledge, we will dismantle these structures and build equitable, diverse, and inclusive systems.
WLA recognizes its constituents' and members' deep connection to the land and natural environment, and how it intersects with culture, economy, and policy, in forms such as ranching, mineral extraction, national parks, public lands, tourism, recreation, spiritual inspiration, rural character, and other aspects. WLA acknowledges these lands were established and founded through the forced removal and continued oppression of Indigenous peoples and have historically excluded the presence and voices of marginalized identities. The nation’s history of settler colonialism and slavery, along with its capitalistic structures and beliefs in rugged individualism imposed on the land, serve as the foundations to Wyoming’s vast and textured human landscapes.
WLA commits to serve all members and constituents regardless of the many intersecting dominant and marginalized identities we occupy including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender identity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, ability, language, age, sex, national origin, and size. WLA will promote EDI through shifts in all aspects of library service: internal as well as public facing; individual as well as organizational; in a continual feedback loop with each layer informing the others. Transformations through day-to-day practices, long-range planning, hiring practices, space design, collection development, programs, etc., aim to include participation of people who have been historically left out of the decision-making process. We recognize that ongoing education and working consistently toward EDI is necessary to achieving our mission; this statement is the foundation of WLA’s commitment to the process.
Diversity and Diversity Audits
Finding Diverse Books Without a Hashtag
I’m Your Neighbor Books
Inclusive Metadata & Conscious Editing Resources
Critical Race Theory
Bills Proposed in Wyoming Legislature (2022)
Senate File 0103 - Education-limitations on teaching critical race history-2
Interview with Nikole Hannah-Jones - AP News
After the Sun Goes Down - National Public Radio
The Casper Freedom Trail - Serve Wyoming
Microintervention Strategies - Derald Wing Sue
National Archives Black Wall Street: 100 Years Since the Tulsa Race Massacre
Project READY: Re-imagining Equity & Access for Diverse Youth
Spanish for Librarians
Storytelling for Justice: How Libraries and Archives Hold History to Account
WebJunction's Spanish Language Outreach Program
Why Use Inclusive Language
Wyoming Arts Council’s Arts Access Project Grant