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Diversity and Outreach Roundtable (DORT)
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Leadership Roster

Contact a Member of the DORT Leadership

Kathryn Pierce, Associate Librarian
Hennepin County Library - Brooklyn Park



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April DORT Newsletter



Hello, DORT members! It is officially spring, and like a Minnesota Brown Bear we are coming out of hibernation. Like the buds on the trees, DORT is about to bloom. J Apologies for taking so long to get revved 2017’s activities.


And apologies for the length of this update as a result. PLEASE READ (don’t pretend you don’t love reading), as there are lots of important updates and questions below!


MLA Session Proposals


For the past several years, DORT has been putting on sessions at the annual MLA Conference. We have had three years of giving great collection recommendations in our “Diversity!” advisory sessions, and in 2016 DORT began to dig deeper by sponsoring a panel session of outreach experts as well.


It’s that time again and MLA session proposals will be submitted late this month. We may still have an audience for our Advisory Session (if you are interested in booktalking diverse collection additions, please let us know!), but during our last meeting many of you suggested we tackle more. We CAN create more hands-on, content-rich sessions that other library professionals will walk away from with tools for working within their communities on tough subjects – something more than just (an awesome) booklist.

Do you have an idea for a MLA session, or would you be interested in jumping on board with any of the ideas below? We will send out a follow up email to interested parties. Please note that this is NOT yet a commitment, and although you may want to sit out so others can share, remember that everyone has different expertise to offer and everyone has something to learn. We want to hear from you, and so do your colleagues at MLA. The theme for this year’s conference is Radical Librarianship.

  • Minnesota Diversity 101 – Our Communities Instead of Ourselves
    • Background on different types of Minnesotans – or something else? - Phuoc Thi Minh Tran embedded some great information on working with Vietnamese-Americans as part of her booktalks in last year’s Diversity! session.
  • Privilege: Calling In, Calling Out, and Promoting Conversation
    • This can be an active session discussing the different ways to encourage others to help identify and talk about topics such as (but definitely not limited to) microaggressions
    • Tools to help combat fear (in librarians and others) of “getting it wrong” i.e., avoiding important topics for social reasons
  • Black Lives Matter @ The Library: Creating Safe Spaces
  • Politics and Ninja Librarians: Arguments for Non-Neutral Librarianship
    • How to deal with administrative reluctance to upset homogeneous communities with diverse topics
  • Diversity! Enhancing Your Library Community
    • Traditionally, this has been booktalks. It would be awesome to stretch beyond this goal for MLA’s 2017 Conference and discuss ways to introduce more diverse PATRONS into the library instead of merely suggesting awesome materials for them. Maybe a combination of both
  • Bringing in experts or POC from outside the library community to speak with librarians at MLA? If you have ideas of anyone who might be good for this, please send them along!



Many of you have expressed a desire for more networking opportunities, and the MLA Board and Membership Committee have started monthy casual networking events – and DORT should host one. The primary responsibilities we would have as host would be choosing a location and showing up! Do you have any suggestions for locations or have interest in being that friendly face to say hello to everyone as they arrive? Right now there are open slots for June-December, with events occurring in the twin cities and Duluth. Let me know your ideas, or if you would like to help spearhead a fun and easy event. J AND events can take place in conjunction with library programs or community events.



Interested in working on a project for DORT outside of the MLA Conference? Let us know! Some ideas which we have been throwing around include:

  • At-home projects for the design-inclined (making inclusive signs for libraries to publically share)
  • Working on volunteer projects with local organizations and charities
  • Enhancing DORT presence at the Minnesota State Fair (during Read and Ride Day, Alphabet Forest, etc)
  • Creating an MLA initiative modeled after/similar to ALA’s Librarians Build Communities


Thank you for being a member of DORT. We are a small group, but we hope to grow in numbers and impact. Please take a moment to consider what you can do with DORT to help improve the world, and write a quick reply to this email with your thoughts and interest. And considering forwarding this onto colleagues who may be interested in joining us in the work of inclusion, outreach, empathy, and understanding.


Looking forward to hearing from you soon,


Emilie Hanson & Katie Pierce

DORT Chair & Chair Elect

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