Inclusive Library Leadership: ILLID Focus Group
Embargo Lift Date
Alumni of the 2008 Indiana’s Librarians Leading in Diversity (ILLID) Fellowship Program will participate in focus groups to provide insight into the longitudinal impact of the program on their academic and professional experiences. Preliminary discussions with ILLID fellows surfaced both high and low program points, many aligning with the challenges identified in the 2017 IMLS Forum Report, Positioning Library and Information Science Graduate Programs for 21st Century Practice.
Fellows expressed that the cohort experience and mentorship were key to their development and success as library and information science professionals. Several fellows expressed while they attained a full-time professional position, the library work cultures were not wholly conducive to work satisfaction or personal well-being. The ILLID program focused on successful attainment of the MLIS degree and a professional position. It did not however address the climate of the library environments into which the new professionals would enter.
The focus group findings (along with other inputs) will inform the creation of a next generation diversity initiative one that connects recruitment and retention, one that will build a bridge between learning and working environments. We hope to learn and share from the focus groups the impact of the original program on the fellows and how that impact influenced the profession. The knowledge we gain from the fellows’ last 15 years of experiences in libraries has the potential to contribute to improving learning environments and curriculum within LIS programs, to developing inclusive leadership approaches, and to promoting work cultures where diverse individuals can thrive.