I want to reflect on the first year of ALIA Multicultural. Yes, it has been a year since the group was launched, with a dedicated mission of advocacy in the Library Information Sector (LIS) space for multicultural diversity needs of staff and community with a cross-sector focus.
I draw attention and applaud the LIS sector’s ability to embrace the identity of being a connector and enabler of diverse experience and stories. This is a conduit to building empathetic relations amongst diverse communities we serve and diverse communities within the workplace. The submission to the Multicultural Framework Review is a great documentation of some of the great work contributed by many in this space.
As collectors and sharers of stories, the power of a story cannot be underestimated. Having a voice heard and perspective shared can break down misconceptions and humanise diverse lived experience. I acknowledge there are systemic issues that contribute to barriers in enabling diverse voices and stories that extend beyond barriers that may present within the LIS sector. This feature article titled I wanted to only read books by diverse writers highlights the imbalance in the publishing sector and the promotion and elevation of certain stories and perspectives over others via reading lists as a connected systemic barrier. However, the power to connect via sharing one’s story, enables identity to be validated and celebrated. Stories come in many forms and languages and can be expressed in various formats.
This helps build understanding while strengthening an individual’s identity and the collective communal experience of shared identity. What can be more powerful than this?
It is no coincidence that our first webinar was on the theme of Stereotypes. A well-attended webinar with great interactive participation by the attendees demonstrating the value of a safe-space to talk openly.
*The title of this post is borrowed from Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adiche’s Ted Talk, The danger of a single story. I am sharing to punctuate the thoughts expressed.