Why You Should Pursue the Graduate Certificate in Urban Librarianship
I went to the 2011 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans to work the SLIS table during the exhibit. One day on an ALA shuttle bus, an attendee had mistaken me for a concession stand worker who worked at the convention center during the Conference. That day I had on a dress suit, a conference badge, and was carrying a case holding a school sign. I tried to figure out how she came to the erroneous conclusion I worked at a concession stand when there were obvious signs in front of her that I was participating in the Conference like everyone else on the bus. It finally came to me: I was young and black, which were the characteristics most of the concession stand workers shared with me. I can’t say exactly what she was thinking, but somewhere along the line she made several assumptions, which I am sure were based on my race and age. I was shocked, hurt, and even shed a few tears (without anyone seeing me); however, I could tell that attendee who made that statement in front of everyone on the bus was just as embarrassed as I was shocked and hurt. The attendee did not mean to offend me. She honestly thought I was someone she met who worked at the concession stand.
In society today you would think these kinds of things don’t happen. In reality these things happen all the time. It happens so much it can make one think there is mostly fluff surrounding the ideas of diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion. The purpose of my testimony is to inspire you to take action in support of these ideas we often espouse with indifference. How can you do that? Part of the answer is to pursue the Graduate Certificate in Urban Librarianship at SLIS. This certificate provides you with tangible meanings of these ideas–giving you the knowledge, understanding, and skills to hit the ground running in urban information institutions. It prepares you to be connectors to information for those who are overlooked or treated unfairly. It helps you recognize the personal values you have for yourself and others. Additionally, if you want to work in a major city as a librarian, earning this certificate could be a great way to demonstrate to potential employers your skills and experience addressing issues specific to urban libraries.
There is an information meeting discussing the details of the Graduate Certificate in Urban Librarianship on June 6th at 5pm in the Kresge Library, room 110. This meeting will introduce the School of Library and Information Science’s new 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Urban Librarianship. The certificate’s faculty coordinators, Dr. Deborah Charbonneau and Dr. Kafi Kumasi, will provide an overview of the certificate and the unique on-campus cohort in which students will participate. Admissions requirements and procedures will be reviewed along with scholarship opportunities for the certificate. I hope you are there.