Andrew Pace - ​2019 ALA Treasurer Candidate​

1. There have been many concerns about the persistent underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in the ranks of librarians. How do you perceive this problem and how would you address this deficiency as ALA Treasurer?

I have definitely perceived this problem with ALA, especially in leadership positions. Equity means recognizing that some groups were (and are) disadvantaged in accessing opportunities and are therefore under-represented or marginalized. Diversity is the sum of ways that people are alike and different. When we recognize, value, and embrace diversity, we are recognizing, valuing, and embracing the uniqueness of each individual. Inclusion requires having a shared sense of Equity and Diversity and creating an environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully; are valued for their distinctive skills, experiences, and perspectives; have equal access to resources and opportunities, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success. I think ALA need to figure out how to implement the changes necessary to make these statements real and true for everyone. I think my role as Treasurer is to instill these values on the Board, but also to make sure that ALA's investments are aligned with these core values. We need to put our money where our mouths are. One tangible example would be properly staffing and funding the recommendations of ALA's EDI Taskforce. We have a long way to go.

2. In the context of your background as an employer/ administrator, what steps had you previously taken to promote an ethnically diverse work environment?

At OCLC, my compensation is actually tied to our success in diversity recruiting. Personally, I have targeted filling staff roles with underrepresented groups, reaching out to representatives in those groups at my job to help me fill candidate pools with under-represented groups. That has also led to actual hiring of those individuals.

3. What could ALA do to involve more underrepresented groups (ethnic minorities) in the Association?

I think we could do more to ensure these groups have a seat in important leadership groups--search committees, boards, etc. ALA also needs to make sure that these voices are heard throughout the association and not marginalized on the sidelines.

4. What can library school educators do to recruit underrepresented groups?

It should start early! If all groups are shown the wonder of libraries, then we could create generations of kids who see the library and information profession as a great opportunity. Library schools should do more to attract a more diverse student body and align those efforts with those that are undertaken at the undergraduate level.

5. How can these schools address the issues of diversity within the curriculum so that all graduates are better prepared to address the needs?

They can also do more to attract diverse groups to their faculty! LIS faculty suffer some of the same under-representation that the profession does as a whole. I think we need to lead from the front, hire diverse faculty, which will lead to a better curriculum. Existing staff could also attain more EDI training and readiness to be more aware of the situation.