This chapter centers on the experience of four Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) academic librarians who conceived, planned, and executed a local one-day in-person summit for BIPOC information workers in 2018 and an online version in 2021. The POCinLIS Summit celebrated and uplifted BIPOC information workers from the public, private and academic fields of LIS. Since libraries were established, information systems and institutions have prioritized and normalized whiteness. To amplify and bolster BIPOC siloed in their work, the Summit sought to create counterspaces unaffiliated with a professional organization or traditional LIS conference spaces. To address why BIPOC-centered programs are vital to the success of the LIS field, this chapter will first examine issues of inequity in conference organization and whiteness in LIS in both conference content and planning. It will also describe the steps the summit organizers took to encourage conversations regarding inclusivity and accessibility in the profession. Practical suggestions for creating similar styled events will also be provided along with resources and lessons learned from the organizers, including the decision to move to an online format in light of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Masunaga, J., Young, J., Conner-Gaten, A., & Blas, N. (2022) Community-building, empowering voices and brave spaces through LIS professional conferences. In A. Brissett & D. Moronta (Eds.), Practicing social justice in libraries. Routledge.