An open and inclusive future for the information profession

14.15 – Thursday 5th July

Based on the 2015 CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping, CILIP recognises that information professionals from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds or who identify as a ‘Person of Colour’ (POC) are under-represented in the workforce. As ethical professionals, we are committed to ensuring that the profession reflects the full diversity of the society and communities we serve. In this session, delegates will hear from equalities advocates and information professionals about their critical reflections on the workforce today and how we can work together to create a more open and inclusive future for our profession.


Understanding social and economic inequality

Only by understanding the root causes of social and economic inequality can we begin to take steps to tackle it. Inequality damages society and robs people of the opportunity to pursue their dreams and aspirations. Librarians and information professionals can play a role, both personally and professionally.

Dr Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director, The Equality Trust
Dr Wanda Wyporska is an activist, author and mum. She is Executive Director at The Equality Trust, where she leads the work of the organisation in its mission to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing social and economic inequality. She is also a Visiting Fellow at the University of York. In her previous role, she established a vibrant equalities function at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, founded the Safer Schools Network and led the union’s work on anti-bullying, child poverty, social mobility and violence against women and girls.


BAME Library and Information Professionals in the workforce: calling all to action

Research has shown that BAME staff are under-represented in the library and information profession. This presentation discusses why this is the business of every library and information professional and explores some of the underlying reasons why under-representation exists. Inter-laced with personal experiences, I will also provide an insight into strategies which might be employed to start to address this challenge. It is anticipated that this session will encourage attendees to reflect on the issues raised and engage in dialogue about how to best resolve them both at the session and with their colleagues, when they return to their workplace.

Shirley Yearwood-Jackman, Liaison Librarian, University of Liverpool 
Shirley has had an extensive career, working in Special Libraries and Higher Education. Currently, she is a Liaison Librarian at the University of Liverpool. She has also had an international career in the Caribbean, serving as Director, Regional Resource Centre, U.S. Embassy. During her career she has been actively involved in Library Associations serving as President of the Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL); Chair of the Local Organizing Committee for the ACURIL Conference, and a Regional Councillor of the Commonwealth Library Association (COMLA). Most recently, Shirley has been engaged in advancing equality policy at Liverpool as a member of the BAME network, the Equality Forum and the University’s Athena Swan Professional Services Self-Assessment team. She holds a MSc in Information Studies from the University of Sheffield.

Diversity in leadership: a personal reflection

Russel will speak from the personal perspective of being a black senior manager in public libraries. Reflecting on over 30 years’ experience of managing and working in the public libraries sector, he will look at what this has taught him about personal identity and diversity and their importance to aspirational leadership. He will talk about the crucial importance of young professionals from all backgrounds finding and using their own unique voices in order to be effective leaders and advocates for the information profession.

Russel Barrow, Principal Librarian, Operations: West Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire Libraries and Heritage Services
Russel is responsible for public and prison libraries across West Hertfordshire. He has overseen and led on multiple major projects for the service, including the development of CreatorSpaces in libraries, new library buildings and refurbishments, marketing strategies, equalities and diversity and income generation. In previous roles Russel has worked in libraries across Buckinghamshire and the London Borough of Newham. Russel believes strongly that public libraries enrich and empower communities, but that they can only do this effectively if the people who lead them speak with a diversity of voices.

 Chair: Neena Shukla Morris, Assistant Librarian, Ardingly College 

Neena is a qualified and chartered librarian who has worked in libraries for over a decade. Alongside her library employment, she has worked in a variety of capacities in schools, specialising in support for children with additional needs.  Now in post at Ardingly College, Neena works with young people aged 2–18.  She is passionate about information literacy and reading for wellbeing.  She sits on CILIP’s Ethics Committee and has contributed to the diversity review of the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards.