Diversity & Inclusion Librarian of the Month: Meg Butler
As a mid-career librarian, I have worked exclusively in an academic law library environment. I have found it to be a place where my interests in classroom teaching, data management, working with patrons of all skill/knowledge levels, and access to justice intersect.
What do you envision in the future of diversity and inclusion in law librarianship?
In SEAALL (Southeastern Chapter American Association of Law Libraries), I have the pleasure of joining Shamika Dalton, Beau Steenken, Endia Sowers Paige, and Nichelle Perry as the inaugural committee members of the chapter Diversity and Inclusion Committee. As a member of that committee, I hope that we are creating change to increase diversity and inclusion in law librarianship and the legal profession. I hope that future law librarians, whether they be people of color, with disabilities, or gender or sexual orientation minorities, or in the intersection of those spaces, do not have to take on a second-shift of work to make safe spaces. By second-shift work, I mean the work, for example, of explaining to others how something is racist, sexist, homophobic, heteronormative, ablist, etc. This is a big issue, and it takes both time and emotional energy. I hope that those of us in the majority work together to effectively eliminate the disparities that law librarians experience on the basis of their identities.
What are some of the major issues that affect law librarianship relative to diversity?
I am reluctant to answer this question because I think that there are so many answers. Ron Wheeler wrote powerfully in Law Library Journal about his experience of microaggressions. Though the AALL Salary Survey does not capture the data required to evaluate whether librarians are being compensated fairly on the basis of training and experience, pay parity is an issue at least on the basis of sex (it is harder to find support for that claim based on race). These issues—as well as others—reflect cultural problems generally, and it takes a lot of work to build a community that transgresses against the oppressive aspects of our culture.