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Why Do I Stay in Librarianship? — The DEI Perspective II

Apr 27, 2023


Hopefulness and cautious optimism   “You are not alone..BIPOC librarians struggle to stay in the profession..it’s normal. ”

As a follow up to popular series “Why I Left the Profession –DEI Perspective” — “Why Do I Stay –The DEI Perspective” series is taking a closer look at resiliency and optimism in the face of many obstacles and challenges. Facilitated by the wonderful, brilliant Twanna Hodge.  We are honoring Kenya Flash as our inspiration. Remembering Kenya Flash: “Brilliance, generosity, and vast knowledge” | Yale Library

Sample questions include:

Why do I stay in the librarian profession? What advice do they have for newer BIPOC librarians who are contemplating leaving? How do I deal with adversity and setbacks? What do they feel has changed in the profession over the years in terms of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and what proactive steps are needed for the future.


Silvia Vong (she/her) is the Associate University Librarian for Scholarly, Research, and Creative Activities at Toronto Metropolitan University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She has been in the profession for over a decade in various roles with increasing responsibilities. She is also a Ph.D. candidate at OISE at the University of Toronto where she is studying the impact of neoliberal conventions on equity and anti-racism work in Canadian universities.

Isabel Espinal has been at the University of Massachusetts Amherst since 1998, after working in public libraries in Connecticut. She has a PhD and MLIS and is currently an Academic Engagement librarian for African Studies, Afro American Studies, Latin American, Caribbean & Latinx Studies, Native American & Indigenous Studies, Spanish & Portuguese, and Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies. She is a past president of REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking and has written and given presentations on racial equity in librarianship, information literacy, the climate crisis and libraries, Dominican women writers in the United States, and Latinx literature, among other topics.

Nichelle Hayes

Nichelle M. Hayes MPA, MLS is the President of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association BCALA (2022-2024).   Working as an Information Professional with a focus on the African Diaspora, Community Engagement and Inclusion. An active member of ALA, she has served/serving on the “2023 ALA Nominating Committee” & “Working Group to Condemn White Supremacy and Fascism as Antithetical to Library Work” 2022 – 2023.  Hayes recently was honored as a 2022 National Coalition of 100 Black Women – Breakthrough Women Award. A Genealogist with a focus on African Ancestry and keeping families connected.