Diversity & Inclusion Librarian of the Month: Femi Cadmus
I am law library director, associate dean, and professor of practice at Cornell Law School. My foray into law librarianship started 27 years ago and I have a deep passion for initiatives that facilitate and contribute to free and open access to legal information. On the volunteer side, I am currently Vice-President/President-Elect of AALL.
What do you envision in the future of diversity and inclusion in law librarianship?
I believe there will continue to be a heightened awareness of diversity and inclusion in the profession through relevant training and programs. And hopefully, there will be more of a concerted push by law libraries to recruit diverse and underrepresented groups into the profession by increasing different opportunities including scholarships, fellowships and internships. For example, AALL has very recently expanded the parameters of one of its foremost opportunities for minorities, the George A. Strait Minority Scholarship which since its inception focused solely on scholarship opportunities. Today, the George A. Strait Minority Scholarship & Fellows Program will now also provide the opportunity for fully funded fellowships and internships at host law libraries. The latter presents the opportunity for organizations to contribute to the mentorship and training of minority librarians. My library initiated a diversity fellowship a few years ago, and it has so far been very successful in the training, preparation and mentorship of new librarians from underrepresented groups. However this is the effort of one library and my hope is that the model will grow in scope and be adopted by other law libraries.
What are some of the major issues that affect law librarianship relative to diversity?
I think the elephant in the room is that we are certainly not diverse and inclusive enough. This stems from different reasons including the fact that there are not many underrepresented and diverse groups entering the profession. So, recruitment continues to pose a challenge. Without the targeted opportunities listed previously, this will continue to be a serious impediment to increasing diversity in our profession.