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Diversity and Inclusivity at the National Library of Ireland Maria Ryan, Joanne Carroll



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In 2017 the National Library of Ireland took active steps to become a more diverse and inclusive cultural institution. A Gender Policy and Diversity Strategy Focus Group made up of Library staff, met to discuss how to improve diversity and inclusion in the Library; covering topics such as programming, collections, acquisitions, exhibitions, digitisation and the building itself. From this group, a Diversity and Inclusion Committee was established and with the help of an external facilitator, a Diversity and Inclusion Policy was drafted, approved and published. The policy was launched by the Minister of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht with various invited guests, representing diverse groups in Irish society in attendance.

In partnership with the Creative Ireland Programme, in early February 2019, the NLI will hold a consultative workshop on the policy in the style of a World Cafe; the event will bring together representatives from various diverse communities in Ireland. The forum will focus on the policy and invite attendees to provide feedback on how the NLI can collaborate more effectively with underrepresented communities. The aim of the World Café is to provide insight on how to better represent diverse communities in Ireland and facilitate more inclusive access to the National Library of Ireland.

This presentation will discuss the outcomes of the workshop and how the NLI will take practical steps to represent diverse communities in Ireland through its collections, events and accessibility.

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Diversity and Inclusivity at the National Library of Ireland Maria Ryan, Joanne Carroll

  1. 1. Diversity and Inclusivity at the National Library of Ireland Joanne Carroll and Maria Ryan National Library of Ireland LAI/CILIP Conference, 11th April 2019
  2. 2. • 1986 census showed that only 5.3 % of Ireland’s population were born outside of Ireland; 2016 Census, 17.3% of the population was born outside of Ireland, from 200 different countries • Marriage Equality Referendum in 2015, Employment Equality legislation, National Disability Strategy and the National LGBTI Inclusion Strategy. Changing Ireland
  3. 3. Changing Ireland • Represent all aspects of Ireland in our collections • Represent in all our activities • Equal access is granted regardless of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, disability, race, membership of the Traveller community or socio-economic status.
  4. 4. Collections Cataloguing Digitisation Exhibitions Programming Building and estates Staffing Building on diverse and inclusive foundations CLON585 : Stone masons/work men at work on large house: Clonbrock Photographic Collection
  5. 5. Gender Policy • #WakingtheFeminists • Initiative of Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht • National Cultural Institutions to develop gender equality policies Gender Counts, an analysis of gender in Irish Theatre 2006-2016
  6. 6. • Develop a Diversity and Inclusion Policy for the NLI • Staff volunteers from across the Library • Worked with external facilitator Olwen Dawe • Touched on all aspects of the Library’s work, including: staffing and HR, cataloguing, acquisitions, exhibitions, digitisation, programming, estates. Policy Working Group POOLEWP 1577: Mr. Meardon, Bonmahon mines, group, men working at hole; The Poole Photographic Collection
  7. 7. • Policy launched in June 2018 by the Minister of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht • Guests from various representative groups attended Diversity and Inclusion Policy
  8. 8. – Review our Collections Development Policy through the lens of diversity and inclusion – Improve physical access and visibility in the new building design – Ensure that our programmes, exhibitions, and engagement with the public reflect diversity in our work and collaborations – Actively consider diversity and inclusion in developing cataloguing and digitisation projects – Seek collaborative opportunities to broaden our reach – Continue our commitment to equality legislation for all employees and visitors.
  9. 9. Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  10. 10. Diversity and Inclusion Forum • Key priority- to engage with communities • World Café forum • 70 invited guests • Funding from Creative Ireland
  11. 11. Diversity and Inclusion Forum 1. How can the NLI collect in a more representative way? 2. How could we make the NLI more welcoming and accessible to you? 3. How can the NLI be more reflective of Ireland’s diversity in our programmes/exhibitions and public engagement? 4. How might the NLI be more innovative? 5. What would you like to collaborate with us on? 6. What could be the barriers or obstacles to delivering the policy? 7. Are we reaching everyone we should be? How can we communicate better 8. What does the NLI mean to you?
  12. 12. 1. Collect • Create awareness about the work of the NLI • Work with partners and Ambassadors • Collect new mediums like podcasts • Rural Ireland is not represented enough
  13. 13. 2. Protect • Better visibility of the NLI. • Partnerships with NGO’s, community groups etc. • Make better use of public space.
  14. 14. 3. Connect • Advisory Council/Committee. • Make collections online. • Connect with festivals and events. • Collect present events for the future.
  15. 15. 4. Innovate • Increased social media presence • Promote popular culture collections • Rebrand • Increased advertisement
  16. 16. 5. Collaborate • Advisory group • Collaboration • Work with local libraries • Host “visit days” for groups.
  17. 17. 6. Delivery • Can’t collect everything • Some groups don’t feel represented • Budget & resource restrictions
  18. 18. 7. Communication • Invest in digital • Work with schools and community groups • Website & Social media • Create more events like culture night
  19. 19. 8. What does the NLI mean to you? • Highlight what we do for communities • Extent of collections • Openness and accessibility of the NLI
  20. 20. Response to Forum Response & Recommendations: • Positive feedback • Use online engagement and community networks to reach out • Advise communities how to collect locally • Review the national collections for representation • Accessibility of our buildings and signage • Young people • Staff capacity / resources / external advisory council
  21. 21. Next Steps • Continued communication with participants • Implementation plan to LT & Board. • Outline current & planned initiatives • Programming • Translation of policy • Digital collections policy • Accessible events- ISL • Building project • Collaborative web archiving projects
  22. 22. Thank you Any questions or feedback, please email: NPA SHE54; [Postcard of woman at writing desk]: Sheehy Skeffington Photographic Collection

Editor's Notes

  • Building on the foundations of the work done already in the Library to make us even more diverse and inclusive.
  • Staff volunteers from across the Library
    You can see that we’re diverse because John is on the committee
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