On October 29, librarians from all over Indiana celebrated the Indiana’s Librarians Leading in Diversity (ILLID) program as a part of Indy Public Library’s Center for Black Literature & Culture (CBLC) 5th Anniversary.
Established in 2008 with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services by the Indiana State Library and (then) Indiana University School of Library and Information Science, the I-LLID program supported the recruitment and education of 31 fellows representing underrepresented communities in library and information science with the goal of increasing diversity in Indiana’s libraries. Now, approximately 10 years since the final cohort completed graduate studies, they are celebrating the work of the program coordinator, Marcia Smith-Woodard, I-LLID fellows, and all who supported the project.
Nichelle Hayes, founder of the CBLC, is an alum (3rd Cohort) of the I-LLID program. Without the I-LLID program Hayes says she might not have been fortunate enough to join the profession and follow her passion of Black literature and information dissemination. She offers special acknowledgement to Kisha Tandy (1st Cohort). I-LLID opened the doors of learning and networking that Hayes is still benefiting from. During the Fellowship program she had the support of other fellows as well as the opportunity to meet established professionals and attend conferences. Dr. Jean Preer was an IU professor who had a deep impact on her, she says.
Tandy, who is Curator of Social History, Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, says “As an I-LLDS fellow, I gained greater research skills that have helped me in my role as a museum curator. The research tools are transferable in various work environments.”
The celebration event featured:
• Panel discussion with I-LLID fellow leader and fellows, moderated by, Dr. Nicole Cooke, Augusta Baker Endowed Chair, School of Information Science University of South Carolina
• Premier of a video highlighting I-LLID and fellows
• Recognition of fellows
• Keynote talk, Let this Radicalize You: Re-Envisioning LIS from Dr. Nicole Cooke, begins at 3 PM
• Call to Action for next iteration of I-LLID and fellowship time
Andrea Copeland, associate professor and chair of the Department of Library and Information Science at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, said, “When I first joined the faculty at IUPUI, it was the first year of I-LLID program, and I had many of the fellows in my courses, reference, public library management, introduction to research and readers advisory. We had so much fun learning together! The fellows brought a lot of new energy and helped to create an inclusive environment in the program, which made all the difference to me, as an outsider to the Midwest. I’ve loved watching the contributions they’ve made to the professional, truly leaders, in the state of Indiana and beyond.”
Kristi Palmer, I-LLID mentor and dean of the IUPUI University Library, said “I have witnessed the impact of the work and ideas of I-LLID fellows on both local communities and national library and cultural heritage professions. Tremendous talent held by individuals who shared a common experience of mentorship, professional development, networking and cohort-enriched coursework. What’s more, many fellows are now employing their professional expertise to lead, to mentor new professionals, and to inform the next iteration of Indiana’s Librarians Leading in Diversity. They are setting the bar for professionalism.”
In June 2008, the Indiana State Library and the Indiana University School of Library Science (IU SLIS) at Indianapolis announced receipt of a $1 million grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for recruiting and educating 30 ethnically/racially diverse students for Indiana’s Librarians Leading in Diversity (I-LLID) Project. The following organizations have pledged their support to the success of the project: The State Library Diversity Advisory Council (DAC); Administrators and Directors of Large Public Libraries in Indiana (ADOLPLI); Academic Libraries of Indiana (ALI) ; Indiana Black Librarians Network (IBLN); Indiana Library Federation (ILF); and Indiana Special Libraries Association (InSLA).The fellowships were designed for individuals from diverse backgrounds who have been traditionally underrepresented in the library profession. This opportunity will enable them to pursue the Master of Library Science Degree to be equipped to join the professional library workforce in Indiana. By accepting the fellowship, the students are obligated to successfully complete the MLS with a minimum 3.0 Grade Point Average. They will be required to work in an Indiana library for at least two years upon graduation. Fellows have been linked with experienced library professionals as mentors and resources. Some fellows have been or are currently working or volunteering in various types of libraries, museums, or historical societies. Their presence as working professional librarians will help Indiana libraries to better serve their diverse populations.
After four rounds of applications, 31 fellows were recruited for the project. Twenty-one fellows chose the IU School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) campus in Indianapolis (IUPUI) and ten chose the Bloomington campus (IUB). Two cohorts of ten fellows were recruited from August to October, 2008 and from February to April 2009; From June to August 2009 seven fellows made up the cohort. A final class of four fellows was recruited from December 2009 to February 2010. There were 70 applicants for the 31 fellowship spots. Of the successful candidates, 25 were Indiana residents and 6 fellows were from out-of-state. The first class of fellows began classes in January, 2009 and the final class began in May 2010. Twenty-nine of the 31 fellows successfully completed the program.
The fellowship included tuition payments for up to 36 hours of the Master of Library Science (MLS) Program. Additionally, some travel and conference expenses were paid and the fellows received a monthly stipend for up to 16 months. They were engaged in the IU SLIS learning community on both the Indianapolis and Bloomington campuses. The students learned from professionals near and far and worked together to establish camaraderie within and among the cohorts.
The I-LLID Project coordinators and supporters sought opportunities to expose the Indiana library community to these fellows as potential employees, co-workers, and future library leaders. The project ran from September 2008 through August 2012. The fellows are working in academic, public, school, and special libraries, and independently. Look for them around the state and in the national library news.