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Black Lives Matter in Health Libraries

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I'm going to allow um Natasha and Hong-Anh to introduce themselves um so that they can tell us about the work

that they do and

why they're involved in this um


okay um would you like me to go first


please do it yeah okay so hI everyone so

I’m Natasha Howard

I’m library and knowledge services

manager at NELFT north east london

electric foundation trust

um now I know many of you don't know me

um some of you are dialing in so you

can't see me

I’m not black I’m mixed race or biracial

so I’m roughly half

black Afro Caribbean and half white


my mum was born in Jamaica and in the

70s the government paid for her to come

over here to change to be a nurse

she did her training in Bath and then

she went to Essex and did whisper training

and that's where she met my dad so I’ve 

always thought of myself as being half

Essex half Jamaican

I’m descended from enslaved people and

to their enslavers

but I’m not a spokesperson for black

people that monolithic group that seems

to exist in

your imagination I want to be upfront

about this because

we all need to be able to acknowledge

the privileges that we have

and um I need to acknowledge the

privilege the advantage that comes from


this lighter skin what some people call

proximity to whiteness

and it doesn't end there my other great

privileges include a comfortable


and fantastic education and we still

have grammar schools in Essex and i

passed my 11 plus I went to grammar


and then I went to King's College London

now partly because of where I grew up

and partly because I’m fortunate to have

a wonderful extended uh family who are

very loving I’ve never experienced the

kind of overt

violent um aggressive racism that many

people would think of as being proper


I’ve always known I was a target as a

child my dad told me to be careful when

we were in shops

keep my hands visible because people

would think I was going to shoplift

because I’m brown

even now if I go into a shop I always

get a basket if I can't get a basket i

walk around like this

like I’m waiting on tables in my hands

and I just don't even think about

it when I was six my mom told me i'd

have to work twice as hard as everyone

else to get anywhere

because of the colour of my skin at the

time I really wasn't that bothered

because I knew I was a hard worker

and I was very bright so I just got on

with it

and for a long time I naively believed

that we lived in a meritocracy and that

part of hard work would pay off

that our society was post-racial

perhaps there was some pockets of


that they are very isolated life started

to change when my son was born six years


he was two weeks early and we were kept

on the postnatal ward so he could have

iv antibiotics twice a day

after we've been there for a few days i

knew something wasn't right and I kept

asking the right to midwives if he was


they said he was fine his nappies were

weird and

they said they were normal it was only

when it came to a weekend night shift

and an Indian nurse was starting the

neonatal unit and doing his iv

antibiotics and she said to me

your baby's a little bit jaundiced I’ve 

taken a sample to check

and a few hours later everything kicked

off because the results showed that his

he was really really jaundiced really

dehydrated in a bad way

but he was whisked off to the neonatal

unit and it was nearly two weeks before

I could take him home

I was six years ago and he's fine now

but that's just one example of how

racism and health care affected outcomes

the concerns of this very articulate

educated women were repeatedly ignored

and the white staff didn't know how to

support children for non-white babies

I guess I started to wake up to reality

I started doing more reading so i

realized that I had this duty to

leverage my privilege to facilitate


but I have engaged with my trust's

long-standing ethnic minority network

and I’m now a interview colour rep for

the network and also strategic


like we know librarianship is  white

until our profession reflects the

communities we serve we're not going to

be equipped to meet their needs

it's going to take a while to change

those figures but I think in the

meantime we all have a duty to

participate ourselves on EDI

issues in the broadest sense and how

they manifest in our work

and then we can start to act so thanks

for taking the time to engage with us on


thanks Natasha um Hong-Anh

are you there hold on

she seems to have disappeared

oh there you are ah sorry

um I’m Hong-Anh Nguyen I am the library

service manager at the kings fund

so um I guess I work in a health library


probably not in uh the kind of way that

most people think about health libraries


our collection is focused on health

and social care policy and management

and so um like Natasha said and so eloquently said

um I think one of the things that is

really important for

me to clock in my introduction is that


this session is about black lives

matter and

as you can see I’m not black I am i

would identify as a woman of colour

person of colour BAME all of those are

like words that I might use to describe

myself just depending on

the context or southeast Asian or


um and the

kind of experiences of

discrimination or othering that I


are very different to the experiences

of um Black or Asian

or other ethnic minority people um

I think it's just really important to

kind of highlight

that because um I think what black lives

matter is really highlighted is that

BAME isn't like a monolith

it's an umbrella term that kind of

covers a lot of experiences

and for me how that showed up in my life

is that um

the southeast Asian community tends to

be kind of part of what

we call in this country like the model

model minority

um you might have also heard it referred

to as like the good immigrant

um as there is this kind of ex

it kind of shows up as like an

expectation that uh

you're going to kind of be very perform


well academically that you will go into


professions so like being a doctor or

being a pharmacist

or being a lawyer um

and I think it's it's about uh

kind of putting that identity in a box

and making expectations

of how they perform but when

Black Lives Matter um when it kind of

came to the attention of the world again

over the past few weeks one of the

things that really

that I really kind of thought that was


the way that model minorities are used


as a tool of white supremacy like as a


to kind of um

yes as a way to kind of oppress like


minority groups um so

again there is like layers of privilege

there that we have to think about

um I guess the other thing I want to say

is that my experience

of talking and thinking and doing stuff


equality diversity and inclusion it's

it's informed by my lived experience but

it's really garnered from my

professional experience so I’m involved

in a lot of

the king's funds uh diversity inclusion


and so I co-lead on a lot of the work

that we do

and I’m involved in lots of the

initiatives so I’m part of the reverse

mentoring program

and uh I we introduced um

a a positive action graduate trainee


for example so yes so um

I guess I guess my disclaimer as it were

would be that

um and I’m sure Natasha would agree with

this is

that while we have experience in this

field uh we don't have all the answers

um there is no silver bullet for solving

the issues that we're going to be

talking about because if there were

we wouldn't be having this discussion

today so I think it's more to say that

we're just sharing our experiences of


our journey has been so far in working

in this area

thank you that's great so um

what we've done is we've taken the

questions that you all are

on slido and we've sort of grouped them

together thematically because there were

quite a lot

of questions that um went together

nicely so I’m going to ask Natasha and


these questions and then they're going

to have a discussion and during that

discussion if you want to make any

further questions or comments please use

the chat function

so let's kick off with our first

question how can library staff

regardless of level or role

affect positive change and influence

upwards where resistance is being met

tricky isn't it, this is a really good


and I’m sure one that both of us really

relate to in our experience so far

um I guess so I I guess

resistance is often felt

um downwards but resistance can be found

in like

all directions within an organization so

it can be felt from your peers

it can be felt from your managers from

directors senior managers um

so what I always think is that everyone

is responsible for something right you

you all have a job description you're

all responsible for

delivering an element or aspect of your

service making certain decisions about

your service

that is power um so you have the power

to make decisions

that ultimately add up into

change um if everyone kind of thinks

about their power consciously so

if if you're a cataloguer for example

you might have the ability to kind of

lead a discussion and lead a piece of

thinking about

do the class do the indexing terms we

use reflect

really um the languages used nowadays

um around gender identity

around race um

you know that's that's one thing that

you can do you can't do everything

but the things that you can do are


um so that would be my first thought on


Natasha what do you think

yeah I think some different examples

I’ve seen of training sessions as well

if you're helping people learn to search

databases you can use examples that

speak to

different aspects whether they're things

to do with race

or things to do with issues like um

domestic violence and that kind of thing

and so just even from including those

examples when you're saying

people it's just starting to broaden out

the thinking a little bit more

um the other one

um I was thinking of is about sharing

good practice from elsewhere

like maybe your boss doesn't want to do

it but there's nothing to stop you

talking about

what everyone else is doing or what

someone else is doing

and you know if it gets talked about

enough um

there will be um there will be that

pressure to do something

yeah and also I mean particularly for

the nhs

there's an aspect of um accountability

as well so

you know you've got the workforce race

equality standard

um which which are the measures that um

that you know are applied nationally

across the service in terms of measuring

uh race disparity in the nhs and

um that's not so there are kind of

things that the nhs is required to do

standards that they require to meet

and so is there any way that you can

kind of train your argument

in terms of like this link to a

strategic priority

it might lead to a strategic equality in

the nhs so you might link it to race

data this is particularly personal when

you're thinking about

on workforce like when you're thinking

about the makeup of your team

um how people progress how you support


progression because the nhs is actually

quite diverse but as you

as you travel up that diversity doesn't

translate in terms of race

um and you know there are also kind of

strategic priorities that your

organization will have that your trust

will have

your trust will have I’m I’m pretty sure

that all nhs trusts will have like

some sort of EDI strategic objectives

um and what what are those how can you

kind of link it into those

like you need to think about all of

those things to kind of help make the

business case

almost um you kind of have to treat

everything like it's a business case

because the moral code alone sometimes

won't win the day so sometimes you have


you have to put your librarian and do a

bit of research and say here's the data

this is why we should do it so

um there's lots of data out there for

example about why um

not diversifying your workforce will

result in um you know

less a less rich pool of talent and then

that has an economic impact on your


you need to kind of yeah put your

research hat on

and and find what the what the kind of

data is and what the argument is

to do this kind of thing whatever the

change is

another one I was going to suggest is um


if you just have an ethnic minority or a

black staff network

it might be useful to link in with them

because as Hong-Anh says

there's strategic priorities around

these issues you know if you're chair of


same network is saying where's the edi

stuff in the library

that's going to perhaps carry a bit more

weight then and you sending it to

your boss maybe yeah that's a really

good shout out

definitely yeah find yours what is your

um peers in your organization find your


like you're trying to do things that

you're just more distant

you're not the only one who's trying to

make this change so you need to try and

find the other people and join up

um and be strategic about it yeah

so if for example you want to kind of

diversify your collection

um but you know there are budget

constraints and there's a bit of


about it can you argue that it's good

for self well-being can you argue that

it links into kind of

like greater thinking around health

inequalities and how that interacts with

race inequality

and that's actually quite an important

dimension to speak about because

at a health policy level that's

something that people are starting to

think about you know

you need to kind of cast your net

quite broadly

that's great I think that's that's a lot

of practical

steps that people can take to start

thinking about how they

affect that positive change upwards

um I don't think we've got anything

that's come from on the chat on that

topic so she'll move on to our next


yeah yeah

so and this has been a big one we had

lots of um discussion about this on on

slido what does it mean to decolonize a

library in a healthcare

context okay

so um decolonization

as I understand it is about sort of um

changing the focus from

um things that have been largely built

and designed around

cisgender white specific male

white people and making things

yeah more diverse so in

our health care library I think there's

lots of ways that we can do it

um we can talk about collections but

we've also talked about the training

aspects as well uh raising awareness

to those kind of examples um

and yeah the um things that we've got

over about the

lack of diversity of images and stuff

that's really topical at the moment I

don't know people have seen on twitter

there is a student at saint george's

uh university who has um

written a book about recognizing

clinical signs in black and brown skin

he's done it as part of a student

project he's a medical student

and this is being hailed as a big thing


it's a first over

and that's kind of incredible when you

think about it but

this should be down to the unpaid labour

of a

medical student to reduce this kind of


but these are the kind of things that

we're thinking of um

these pictures these resources should be

more available

and when we say decolonized we're not

just talking about the race agenda we're

talking about um

gender we're talking about um lgbtq+

issues as well

and um which have a knock-on effect in


and health outcomes so it's really

thinking wisely

uh interrogating our collections what

voices are being heard

what voices aren't being heard and

in the collections and in the terms that

we use as Hong-Anh said earlier the index

terms that we use as well

yeah I think the example that you use of

the um

uh the medical students who've put

together this resource I mean

uh that absolutely shouldn't be

something that someone has taken on as

unpaid labour

um and I guess my my challenge to us as

the profession is as a profession we

have significant economic power um when

it comes to publishers for example what

could we do to affect change

as a whole profession of health care

librarians when we're thinking about

um what what's missing um

so we know that in dermatology yeah like

there are

there are no uh there's no diversity

in how skin conditions show up on

different colour skins because they do

present differently

um a really pertinent example of this at

the moment is um in Covid actually

so one of the symptoms of clothing is a


about 20% of covid patients present with


um but all the exams like the majority

of the examples

uh photographic examples we have of how this rash looks is on white skin

and there are very little examples

photographic examples of how this looks


Asian skin on Black skin um and so it

looks different and this might be a

crucial thing that is being missed

in a certain section of population and

we already know that

outcomes and covid for um particular

ethnic groups

is very different um than it is in white

groups so

um actually the um the cover tracking

app that

um is uh developed by zoe is the one

that's been used quite a lot in the uk

at the moment I’m sure

a lot of people on this call um can

say they're every day on it

and they put out a call for people to um

send in pictures if

if they had experienced the rash and um

you know

uh weren't from um a caucasian


um and so we could have examples of that


um so yeah it has kind of real world

consequences this kind of stuff

um and what Natasha said as well about

it applying to kind of other

characteristics as well so

for anyone who's read like the Caroline

Criado-Perez Invisible Women

there's quite a lot there about how um

medical research has historically

erased women from a lot of trials

um and consequently our understanding

our medical model of understanding some

conditions is based on how it presents

in men for example so

um so again it's about that kind of real

world consequence so I think

for us as um

as healthcare librarians as information

professionals we need to

get ahead of a curve right we need to

understand where the gaps in our

knowledge are

and be conscious of that and think think

about that bear that in mind when we

carry out literature searches when we

think about our collections

and you know that's on our speed

that's great thank you we've actually

had some a really good question

um um Shakira has uh shared the

information on the mind the gap book

that you were talking about from

Saint George's if you were interested in


we can add that link into our resources

list actually can't we

yeah lovely thank you that would be

great so

um Camilla has asked uh when we do

literature searches on eg dermatological

conditions and darker skin

sometimes it seems that there is very

little research or no research

is there an organization or somewhere we

can report these research gaps to

somewhere that is able to pass on the

message that most research is needed on

x y and z, wow that's, if

there is a place yes great question we

we should try and find out I wonder if

they're in

yeah I wonder if nihr is a good place

to report that so that's the national

institute for health research they're

the main funding body

for nhs research and they give out grants

for research conducted in the nhs

and I think one of their remits is to

try and correct like gaps in the


in the evidence so um that might be one

that comes to mind but that's definitely

something we should go away and look at

and we might add that to the reading


I’m wondering if if if some of these

like some more

say like Runnymede Trust or whatever

might have some ideas as well

yeah some other like that it's a think

tank isn't it so um

yeah yeah yeah that's a really good


with action to take away yeah and they’re

really well placed to kind of spot that

kind of thing and report it

sorry just flicking back and forth

through the chat and I’m using myself

there's been another um uh suggestion

here from Suzanne Wilson she says the

James Lind alliance

and she's put the link in which we will

add to our resources pack thank you

susanne that's really

okay should we move on to our next


so how can libraries promote their edi

collections and encourage engagement

with this topic through the resources

that they provide

so this is a great question um

and I think you know um

I don't think it's a case of doing

anything extra

over and above what you already do in

your services

and in the services that you provide

it's about rethinking all of those

activities you do

with a different lens thinking about it

through the edi

the edi lens um and so like Natasha's

already given a great example of this

in terms of like things about training


you know like could you if you host a

journal club for example

um could you use that journal club model


use it to host discussions around

diversity where you

um you could use not only like

clinical uh like clinical research but

you could use maybe like um

a think piece that is about an aspect of

uh diversity and inclusion that you

think it's really useful to have a

conversation about

um and so you give people that reading

and then it's up to you you have the

physical space and you can kind of host

the space to have that discussion


uh one that kind of provides

lifelong learning continuous learning

opportunities which is

you know that's our jam that's what we

do um

and it's it's continuing to engage um

people with your servers who may maybe

they don't need to use the library

in their day-to-day job but this is like

again proving that

this the service library can be relevant

to their professional development

in a different way

yep yes I really like that um that

lifelong learning idea and I think that

some of the questions

specifically about black history month

and stuff I think sometimes we sort of

think oh you know

Black History Month or five months is it

really relevant to what we're doing well


I think these are things that many of us

need to learn more about and it will

benefit us not just in our work but in


home lives as well so I think it's a

really good opportunity to

have those conversations and also you


it can be fun as well it doesn't have to

be really serious you know

the one about activity ideas for Black

History Month well yeah you could get

people to read that you could also get

people to watch a film

you know a podcast uh that kind of thing

um and have a

comedy sketch even and have a discussion

about it so

um yeah yeah yeah and that's a great

point about like yeah it doesn't

it doesn't have to be po faced so um

we had pride week at the fund recently

and one thing we did was

to host a quiz um but the quiz was an

educational quiz so

all the questions were centered around

um lgbt history

um so it was educational as well as

being a social activity

one of the questions about encouraging

engagement and encouraging people to

join in one of the phrases that our

ethnic minority network

uses is um remember opening events out

to everybody

we did this yesterday um they said we

would like attendance to reflect the


of the organization so we want sixty

percent white staff forty percent

BAME and they pretty much got it

um pretty much the stats debate they

were doing a slider on it um

yeah so I think I think sometimes

people think things aren't for them so

you have to and that's something we're

doing in the recruitment isn't it you

know making it obvious we want

applications from underrepresented


we're saying for these kind of

activities as well

yeah yeah and I think that's that's a

really good point Natasha is that um

often like edi stuff can kind of

attract a certain crowd and it can

either attract people who

you know um they're attracted to it

because it reflects

their lived experience and so you know

if they people want to get involved


it is really about directly influencing

change to make

their own experience of the workplace

better um

or it can be people who are kind of um

you know really allied to the cause and

quite active and

um already quite active uh in that space

um and I think for people who are newer

to the conversation it can feel

um it can feel scary to join that

and when there's there might be a gap in

where they are on their journey and

where other people are on their journey


you know often people don't want to get

involved in stuff like this because

they're scared of saying the wrong thing

or they're scared that it's not a space

for them so being really explicit about

what we expect

is really important and saying you know

we expect everyone to get involved in

this because this is a problem

not only for um black and brown people to solve

it's a problem for everyone to solve

I think that fits in really well to

another question we have that is on

the slide around

um being an ally so somebody had

recently taken part in ally training

provided by the trust lgbtq plus network

and they wondered what your thoughts

were on staff becoming an ally

oh that's really um that's really timely

question because we um the call I was

talking about just now was brought out of the lgbt+ network and allies

and um I think it can be

really powerful um as long as we're

clear on what the ask is and one of 

the slides we had on the call

yesterday was

what an ally is not what you mustn’t do and

then they were giving and then there was

another slightly different thing to do

um and and I’ve heard this from our


network um when they launched their

allies scheme they gave everybody this

nice little badge

and they've sort of thrown there a few

months long it's not just about the

badge we actually need people to

do stuff so one good thing on our call

yesterday if we had all our senior

integrated care directors

and our chief executives even making

pledges about things that they are going

to do

to demonstrate that allyship and so

they're going to be held accountable

by the network by the organization for

the things they said on the

or on the call yesterday um one thing

we haven't got on the reading list that

we should add um

Yvonne Coghill um who was

with the red team I’m not sure if she

still is but she's still obviously

operating this area she just did a seven

days of allyship

slide thing that's been going around on

twitter that was really good it's just

on one page

um we should add that to the reading


yeah actions yeah yeah and I think you


um I think the key for the key thing for

me in terms of allyship is that you need

to be active

at my ship um allyship to kind of signal


you're for the cause is great but we

need to go one further

we we need we need white people to step


and actually help us push this boulder

up the hill because

um if it's only people from an ethnic

minority background pushing that boulder

up the hill then

you know if you think about it you're

perpetuating the same problem it's

it's unpaid labour it's work on an

underrepresented group to fix the

problems that have been

created by a dominant group so um

allyship can look like a lot of

different things yeah it can look like

personal commitment

it can look like um

you know being the person to take on the

difficult conversation

so that your colleague from an ethnic

minority background doesn't have to

if someone has said something in a

meeting that you know doesn't sit well

with you

maybe maybe that's like a really great

thing you can do is to kind of

call that out um so that it's it's less

of a fraught conversation for the person


has the least power in that situation um

yeah so it's just about thinking about

what you can do

um one of the questions on the slide

uh is about you know are they good

examples of um

trust implementing training where people

can feel the lived experiences of stuff

I say another kind of really important

thing you can do as an ally is

to not rely on people

having to kind of mine some of their

traumatic experiences so that you can


there's a lot out there already um you

know there are people there are talented

authors podcasters

screenwriters actors who have all kind


um created stuff that help you

understand what that lived experience is


um it's a tough ask to ask your


to share that because it can be risky

you know like

if um if you experience the workplace in

a different way and then you're being

asked to kind of

disclose how different that is and how

bad that is for you

that's a really tough place to be put in

um and just to say yeah one thing that


I’ve added to the reading list is that

the King’s Trust have recently

published a piece of research which

includes some

data of that ilk that is anonymized so

that helps give you a flavour but there


plenty out there that's written on this

and specifically in the nhs context as


just a couple of things out there Hong-Anh

yeah we shouldn't be asking our

colleagues to

to relive their horrible experiences but

if you're going to pay somebody who does

this for a living to

you know facilitate those conversations

or just um

uh interpret that for you then there are

several good people out there who can

have those conversations

and and take that um because they're

paid to do it

rather than your staff having to do it

the other one is um

I just recently came across and it's on

the reading list um this thing called

hexitime I don't know if people have

seen it

it's uh like a time banking thing and

they have running a campaign about

supporting BAME colleagues because

several of my um several of my white

mostly male colleagues have signed up

for that this week

that offered to do things like interview

coaching um and mentoring

for um more junior um

new qualified allied health

professionals for example so

that might be something you think you

that you could do and I'll also be

outside your work as well

you know um actually um I’m so nobody

can stop you from doing it if you want

to offer a mentor

or give interview and practice for


thank you I think um I think you've kind

of gone into some of these

examples that this next question has

asked but um

Richard has said what does it

mean to help as an old white middle

class guy I’m aware

I don't want to patronize or mansplain

to people what concrete things can I do

I think the fact that you know the word

mansplain means that you're probably

you're on the right lines there

I that I always appreciate when my older

white colleagues do that is um when they

say my name when I’m not there

or when they reference work that I’ve 

done when I will bring me into a

conversation about something I can help


that there's people you can do that for

yeah um like I said before you can be

the person to have a difficult

conversation too

so harking back to one of the earlier

questions about resistance

if um people are trying to make change

um about something chances are that um

as a white

white man people might listen to you

more than they do to other people

um than they do to a woman of colour so


you know you're you're you can utilize

your privilege for good

thanks that was great okay so

this is a big topic as well actually it

came up what should library collections

relating to

equality diversity and inclusion or BAME

groups be called what language would be

most appropriate and least offensive

so we've put some stuff on the reading

list about the different terms haven't

we Hong-Anh because there's

there's a lot to unpick with them

yeah there is um we've actually been

having this conversation quite a lot

at fund recently um

partially I think because we've realized


one of the reasons why we what the

consequence of us

having historically not done that much

work about it is that we don't have the

confidence to talk about it because we

feel like we don't have the language and

language is so often a barrier in terms

of people trying to get involved in this


people don't want to offend um

so like I think the key thing here is

that there is

this is not going to be very helpful but

there is no right or wrong

so I’m fine with the term BAME being


other people aren't I’m okay with it

being used in certain contexts

so I think it's I think where you use

terms you have to use them meaningfully


ensure that you've put some thought into

it so

BAME is okay if what you mean is


Black Asian and Ethnic Minority bame is

not okay if you are only referring to a

few of those groups for example

um I I think

language is loaded and it just means

that um

it means something different to everyone

else so

I think as long as you make the decision

and you've done your research

research and you're able to say why

you've made that decision

that is that is the best approach to


so an example is um at the fund we uh


capital b for Black and we had a

discussion about what that why that

is and um because you know Black is not

it's not an ethnicity but there is um

a political dimension to it in terms of


you know it's a social construct um that

is recognized so

it is used with capital b but

there's also discussion about whether

you should also capitalise the w

in white um and the capital w and white

is sometimes associated with

white supremacy but then also if you

don't capitalize it then

it plays into that whole thing of like

uh white people not recognizing that

they are also holders of race

races not only held by people who aren't


so it's really complex and messy but

just do your research and and figure out

where you fall

on it and why you've made those

decisions so that if you get called out

on it if people want to know why you've

made that decision you can have a

meaningful conversation about it

thank you I don't know Natasha do you

have anything to add to that

no I suppose I might just say something

about um

a question saying about collections

related to edI or BAME groups and i

think I like the idea more of having an


collection because you know we're

thinking about this holistically

everything about all

trying to think about all the detective


and it would be nice to make sure you

have stuff covering all of those

different label groups as well and i

don't know maybe it depends on how big

your collection is maybe

I don't think i'd have enough to have

separate reading this drawer

okay so maybe you've gone

I think that's a really good point as

well because it takes into that idea of

intersectionality as well so you know

we should be thinking about all the

characteristics and all these different

characteristics don't sit in silos

um you know so um it's really important

to yeah

think about it holistically

fab right we have some chats going on

um and some of these relate a bit back

to some of the previous questions so i'm

just going to go through them

um as they've cropped up okay

so William has asked would you like

diversity engagement

assessed by health education for example

as part of the quality

impact outcome framework assessment

do we are we thinking about equality and

diversity of library knowledge services

as part of the new

is that what we're saying I think so


being specified whether it's workforce

or library

services stuff but um I suppose either

or both

well I think we we are in the refresh of

the knowledge for healthcare

you've got diversity is much more

explicit in there

in the um driver diagrams and things

um i

oh I’m not sure I’m not sure I have a

library with my library manager hat on i

think the quality improvement outcomes


big enough and the other thing is like

Hong-Anh talks saying you know we

shouldn't be doing any new stuff

this stuff should become mainstream and

should be part of um you know

the way that we make sure that our

collections are are comprehensive and

addressing all the relevant issues for


organizations yeah

no I don't think so I I think it


so I I think I think it depends on

how we want to encourage libraries to

pay attention to this

so one way to do it is through that

means I don't work in an nhs library so

I have no idea of

um what it means to kind of do the the

quality framework assessment

and what that might add if we we add

that in it but

I think there are other ways to try and


um people like libraries to pay

attention to edi

in their services it doesn't just have

to be through this

and if we if it was included it

shouldn't be only through that either

yeah I I think I agree with you and I

attended some training yesterday

actually on um the legalities of

equality diversity and human rights and

and they made a really interesting

point that we can be using our equality

impact assessments

on um things like developing new

teaching programs

to ensure that we're checking that

everything is inclusive

we've explored all options when we're

doing those things so that might be

something to think about

for us as well

okay back to the chat there's lots of

things going on

um so Shakira has said how to navigate

these conversations with colleagues

as a black woman I almost anticipate

ignorant comments and don't feel it is

my duty to emotionally drain myself

should just I be more involved um

no I think you need to be the priority I

think is you need to look after yourself

if you don't feel you can do it in the

moment or ever then then I don't think

it's for you to take it on

I I don't think um I

I’m talking to some older colleagues

the group I I was having a

conversation with the

I don't think she's on the call today

but she was sort of saying you know we

were doing this work 20 years ago

in libraries then it kind of dropped off

and I come back and she's like I just

want to get on with my job

um and so I think it's for those who

have the energy right now me and hang

out and got a bit of energy right now

to do this work and then you know maybe

we'll step back and some other people

will take it up in a couple of years um


sorry you have to anticipate those

comments and it's just it's just

draining because

I think speaking for myself I don't want

to be talking about this I just like to

get on with my life

and just be me but

you know we can't get away from it and

uh yeah

yeah I would totally agree it's

yeah you need to make the best decision

for you

and um if you if you don't want to

engage in those conversations

don't it's if if the emotional burden of

it is too much

if it takes away from you progressing in

your career

using time for your own career

progression for other things in your

life that are valuable

no don't do it um you know like I think

I I saw a tweet the other day which was

about kind of um

imagine all like the great black writers

if if they if racism

didn't exist

what would their work be about but as it

is they had to devote their intellectual


to writing about this stuff you do not

have to devote your energy to that

um if you want to then that's great but

as we've said before the push is not for

um it's for everyone to pick up this


um and no one can do this work


and yeah I like Natasha like this is not

this is not necessarily what I want to

be spending my time on but

here we are


um what I will say is that

uh it's not like I don't get anything

from this work so it's been really

developmental for me being involved in

this work it's really helped me to build

um skills and stuff that maybe i

wouldn't have gotten the chance to

at this point in my career in a library


so my ability to kind of

um influence upwards has really been


by um being involved in edI work um in

thinking kind of really strategically

for example I probably wouldn't be able

to do that unless I’ve got

up to the next rung of the ladder in my

career so

there are benefits but it's up to you to


what the trade-off is between like your


mental health because it is draining and


whether you want to kind of progress

your career in that way and through this


yeah so i'll just come in again they're

hanging just to echo about what you're

saying the work what I'm

starting to do now with the ethnic

minority network being a strategic

ambassador means you know I’m in contact

with all these much senior

members of staff one there that keeps

from and really enjoying getting to know

them as well

and the other thing we're talking about

careers is that it's only in the last

couple of years I’ve started talking

about these issues and that's because


been around for a long time now um I’ve 

been at that stage in my career where i

feel comfortable having a talk about

these issues

when I was first qualified in my first

job I wouldn't

have wanted to go there and I it might

have been unwise to have gone there

whereas now I’m not that I’m untouchable

but it's just a bit more

it's just a perhaps a bit more with age

as well at ease with myself I guess

um the other thing I was saying you're

saying about what you get out of it

um I’ve told you to Hong-Anh before is

that I do feel

when I do this work it's one of the ways

I like that I honour the ancestors

and really just be thankful for the fact

that you know

people who went through hideous time you

know I’m here and I'm

able to feel bits to try and make things

better for those who are coming after us

I do get something out of it yeah

thank you thank you Shakira for the

question I think that's really powerful


certainly personally that makes me feel

like I should be paying more attention

to pick up when those things are

happening so I can step in for my


and that's definitely on my action list

from now on

and Shakira has said thank you as well

she says thanks for your responses I'm

sure many um people of colour in

libraries are outnumbered so it can be

a daunting task absolutely yeah

yeah okay um just

quickly we've had some great uh links

from -- on

um writing styles so we will link those

as well

because it says we're absolutely

committed in knowledge for healthcare to

build growth and develop a diverse and

inclusive library knowledge services


um but then William does mention and

this is absolutely true

I guess diversity isn't once in the

quality impact outcome framework so

perhaps even if it isn't assessed it

should be mentioned

I think that's a really important point

I will take back to my colleagues thank

you William

um so

what we're going to do now is I’m going

to unmute you

all so if you can just muted

yourself so we're not

suddenly inundated with background

information and then you can ask

questions if you want to using the hand

up function

okay here we go

you can just mute yourself please

anybody want to ask a question please

put your hands up

I don't see any hands coming up just yet

you can also still use the chat if you

want to to ask questions

or make comments about the things that

we've been discussing today

otherwise let me just scroll down a

little I’ve got

hand, Bertha I’m just going to come to

you I’m going to unmute you

so please ask your question hi uh well

rather instead of

a question I just wanted to share things

that we have been doing here at

MSC at Southend

so um I started this job in February


and when I first started one of the

first things was to get involved with

different groups

just to attend to the meetings um i

attended to the faith group

and I attended to the BAME group so when

I attended to the BAME group i

found out that there was so much work

that we could contribute

and from then um we started this

diversity collection

here and more recently we started this

inclusion and diversity bulletin

which has been well received so I think

for me

just sharing my experience is um we need

to be curious

what what's going on what's around there

um you know as librarians we think of

doctors and nurses but there is

managers their managers their uh

porters there is so much going on and we

are not curious to find out what are

their life and how we can serve them

then if it's all all these things going

uh hanging around

so I don't feel myself     I

am um I am not BAME

but if you see my face and if you hear


voice then you know that I’m not a white


but where I come from I’m a white

privileged person I’m from mexico

and in that context is how I learn about

my privilege

and I still hold this privilege here

because at some point I just shut down

but I noticed that if I shut down then i

don't learn

and yeah so this is what I wanted to

share with you

that's wonderful thank you and I think

your point about curiosity is so


um it's a really important trait

for our profession in general but yeah

especially for this

it's about being curious about how other

people's lives

are different from yours other people

have different viewpoints obviously with

different experiences

um they're not all necessarily bad but

they are different

um and just having that understanding um

to broaden your worldview is so

important for this

yeah thanks Bertha I did actually mean I

don't know if we did put it on the

reading list we were going to flag up


um bulletin if that's okay um but that's

a result that people might want to

read for themselves or to um uh forward

just to subscribe and forward to other

colleagues in their organization and

that will do once more share things

thank you okay I’ve got a question this

is a good question from the chat

and from an anonymous person our manager

is very concerned about us doing

anything which seems

political um do you have any suggestions

for helping to affirm that this is not

politics but essential work for the


oh tricky because I think it is

political isn't it I think the nh

the nhs is inherently political


uh that's not helpful though for the

question and

can we bring it back to thinking about

like we said earlier on about the health

inequalities about the social

determinants that kind of

aspect um how it ties into prevention

and these kind of things I mean I think


libraries aren't neutral and I think you

know if you don't

you don't take a stance you know you're

on the side of the oppressors

you know you you I think people should

be taking a start with pro

pro equality um and pro-social justice

and I

appreciate that it's hard to articulate


yeah so um I think it depends on how

comfortable you feel with having

a one-to-one conversation with this

manager but um

I don't think they mean political I

think that's a coded word

I think that what I’m really saying is i

don't really feel comfortable with this

or I don't really get what this is about


one of the most important things in this

work is to utilize your personal


because um you know

there is so much fear and uncertainty

that people hold around this work

so actually using your personal

relationship having those one-to-one


they can become a really safe space to

help people to understand

um things that maybe they don't have

space to talk about

elsewhere so yeah I think if you can

feel comfortable to have that

conversation and

say to them you know what do you mean by

political um

why is that necessarily bad why is it

out of our remit

this is the way I see it see what

happens out of that conversation

because yeah I I don't think they mean political


thank you that is that is tough um

and it's something and I think um

you just have to keep talking about it

yeah yeah um so Bertha said we can

share the bulletin which is great we

will definitely do that

I’m going to come to Trisha now and just

unmute you because she's got her hand up

um let me just do some scrolling

so Trisha

holly my doorbell's going I’m sorry i'll

be back in a sec

no worries um

I’m just uh wondering

how far we should be also including

other people the underserved

so there are white

sections of society who are

discriminated against because of where

they live

or how they speak and also

I just make the point we need to be

quite careful about the language we use

you know people still use um

quite a lot of

unacceptable language say like

chav or something like that and

people use it

without even thinking about it and I was

just having a discussion with somebody

today at work about

this aspect of it

yeah yeah I think that's a really good

point uh I'll just recap for

Natasha who's just come back as Tricia

had a point about you know thinking

about um

other underrepresented groups so

thinking about kind of um

you know uh groups that socioeconomic

disadvantage for example

um yeah um I I think this is why

it's important to take an intersectional

approach to this this is

there's an order of uh lord quote that i

love which is um

around you know um we don't live

single issue lives um and

intersectionality is about that you know

um if we take up the cause of race

equality then we're also taking up the


of um of lgbt equality too of gender

equality of um

classism um ableism you know all those

things are intertwined

all oppression is connected so um

our approach to that should also be

connected to holistic so yeah absolutely


that's uh that's essential for us to

think about as well

but also all fashion is connected but

they're all

also distinct that they all need

slightly different approaches to

everyone experiences slightly different

challenges as well

thank you got a few more things coming

up on the chat

um so uh in related to

the um the previous question about

um managers who think this is too


um Helen has said uh that her trust is

very anxious to take this on and at

every meeting and at every level we're

being asked to

consider Black Lives Matter I think it's

less politically risky than it used to


so maybe it goes back to that point you

mentioned uh right at the beginning Hong-Anh

about or was it Natasha sorry about

finding case studies from other

organizations of what they're doing and

why it's been so um

uh good for their service

yeah you don't have to reinvent the

wheel there's

lots of great practice going on out


and and uh um a a suggestion rather than

a uh question um

saying she's currently reading an

excellent book she's learned a lot and

she's only a few chapters in called why

I’m not talking to white people about

race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

which I think is on

your reading list is it not I believe

it's on the reading list yeah

yeah it is yeah we've got uh we've got

that on our reading list and also a

couple of others as well which

are kind of if if you're interested in

kind of continuing your reading journey

around that

and there's more stuff like that on


okay I can't see any more hands up

apologies if I’ve missed you um and it

is three o'clock now

and there aren't any more questions on

the chat

so I think we will wrap this up if

that's okay unless either of you want

any more um comments before we go

no I just thank everyone for joining in

and engaging with us on this it's um


been a good way to spend a Friday


yeah I agree thank you for um hosting

this chat

and also for everyone who's come along

and contributed

um and yeah if you have any other


um you know we'll please do get in touch

with us

um we'd be more than happy to have a

chat or answer any other questions

yeah definitely so we have been

discussing this and we think that this

is probably the beginning of this

uh sort of learning webinar discussion

piece um

where we will talk about uh how health

libraries should

respond to other people perhaps within

the protected characteristics so

that would be interesting we'd be really

interested to hear from you

um and we will be publishing this

webinar as a recording

and its transcript our list of resources

which we've been talking about all


um a blog post about it as well in the

next few weeks so please keep an eye out

for that

and the other thing I'd really

appreciate is if when you receive your

evaluation form please fill it in

there'll be a section there for you to

make a pledge I think we've all have

some actions to take away from today

about the things that we can do going


and so it'd be great to see some of

those from you and

um Natasha and Hong-Anh thank you so much for

taking the time out today to ask those

quests to answer those questions

and and to just give us um just a much

needed space

to have this discussion oh thanks for

having us

yeah thank you for expertly hosting as

well holly all right so we'll just uh leave that
there thank you everyone and happy
thanks everyone bye

Webinar – recorded on 17 July 2020. Hosted by Natasha Howard and Hong-Anh Nguyen who describe and discuss the main issues and how KLS staff can take action.

These reading lists cover a wide range of media (articles, books, podcasts) on broad themes on the topic of diversity in libraries. 

Page last reviewed: 15 June 2021