Diversity & Inclusion Librarian of the Month: Janice Henderson
Throughout my career in the legal industry I have been a law librarian, project manager, teacher, speaker, CLE developer, and knowledge manager. I am a member of both AALL and LLAGNY and have always volunteered to support both organizations. Supporting your colleagues who have been instrumental in your career is the best way I know to pay it back.
What do you envision in the future of diversity and inclusion in law librarianship?
A lot of organizations are developing or have diversity and inclusion committees. The first step is to recognize the differences in all of us. The NY CLE Board has just instituted the requirement that attorneys beginning in 2018 will have to obtain 1 credit in diversity and inclusion every two years. This awareness reminds me of when the ethics part of the Bar Exam was instituted because of the ethical problems Nixon had. With the continued awareness of diversity I hope it becomes second natured and there won’t be a need for diversity and inclusion committees. All differences will simply be accepted. For many years we’ve had a Diversity and now Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The main product of the committee has been the Symposium every year at the Annual Meeting, In the last two years the committee has had better communication with the minority caucuses. That’s a good thing. I hope that the communication expands. The Symposium has been a great vehicle showcasing minority issues. The attendees have been from different segments of the Association. But I wonder if of the entire membership, how many members actually know about the Symposium? Or more to the point has actually thought it was of value to attend? I’m thinking a very low percentage of members even think about going. And maybe that’s because they may not be interested in the topics. It’s not really necessary for them to get information in this area.. So until products like the Symposium become more centralized and the organization gives it the same value as the other educational programs, we will always have a Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Inclusion is the answer.
What are some of the major issues that affect law librarianship relative to diversity?
I don’t think there are any different issues that affect law librarianship in regards to diversity that doesn’t occur or affect any other industry. In fact I think because of our service outlook we recognize diversity issues. We’re more cognizant of what it looks like. But we’re also human and are affected by the world around us. If we continually question and are opened to recognizing bigotry we are in the best position to make changes.