A Place at the Table: The Jewish Community Within the Library Diversity World

4th National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color

St. Pete Beach, Florida

February 8-12, 2023

On February 9, 2023 I presented "A Place at the Table: The Jewish Community Within the Library Diversity World" at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, an event sponsored by JCLC, the Joint Council of Librarians of Color. This umbrella organization addresses the common needs of ALA affiliates for BIPOC librarians: 
the American Indian Library Association (AILA), the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), and REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking.

The main thrust of my presentation was a crash course in the marginalization of Jews and the interconnection between antisemitism and racism, with the goal of demonstrating why Jews should be included in equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) efforts. From there, I moved on to practical tips such as keeping Jewish speakers and materials in mind when planning a diverse line-up, serving kosher packaged snacks as refreshments, and being aware of the Jewish calendar when scheduling events. I touted the Association of Jewish Libraries and its many resources, and urged people to use “Evaluating Jewish Representation in Children’s Literature,” an AJL guide for libraries that I created in 2022, which can also be applied to adult literature. I provided a link to a 5-page handout covering the material from my presentation as well as numerous sources for finding Jewish books with authentic representation. You can see my slides here and my handout here.

My experience at JCLC was overwhelmingly positive and I felt very welcomed. I hope this will be the beginning of continuing partnerships between AJL and JCLC!