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Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice

Demographics for Your Communities

Census Bureau Releases American Community Survey Estimates, Most Detailed Portrait of Every U.S. Community

"The U.S. Census Bureau today released estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) for the combined years from 2007 to 2011, providing the only statistics down to the neighborhood level on school enrollment, jobs, housing and many other measures. These estimates are ideal for measuring trends for areas with populations of less than 20,000.

Along with the estimates, the Census Bureau is rolling out a series of new tools to make it easier to search, embed on other websites, download and share the survey estimates..."  Read more here

Diversity in the Workforce

The U.S. Census Bureau's Equal Employment Opportunity Tabulation provides a profile of America’s workforce.  Watch the archived version of a webinar which discussed its recent release. This tabulation is produced for the federal agencies responsible for monitoring employment practices and enforcing civil rights laws in the workforce, and for employers so they can measure their compliance with civil right laws and regulations. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Justice, Department of Labor and the Office of Personnel Management sponsored this tabulation.

Previous tabulations were made available every decennial census since 1970. However, this tabulation uses five years of data collected (2006-2010) from the American Community Survey. The latest tabulation highlights the diversity of the labor force (by sex, race, and ethnicity) across several variables, including detailed occupations, industry, earnings, education, citizenship, employment status, age, residence and worksite geographies for the nation, states, metropolitan areas, counties and places. Selected tables will also include county-to-county commuting flows. More information here

Have you checked the Census data for your Library’s demographics?

Using their website,, as a starting point for learning more about your neighborhoods will help you plan new services needed by your customers and evaluate your current services.

You will find data for a large amount of information, including how many people: are living below the poverty level, are baby boomers, speak languages other than English at home, speak Spanish and what countries they are from, are children below the age of 5, are people who are currently incarcerated, are renters or homeowners, and much more. Use the numbers for your grant applications, requests to Boards and Commissions, planning your outreach strategies, project planning and more.

You can begin your searches in different ways. Click on the tabs at the top of the page to develop your queries or click on their FAQs page. Download data you'll find using the American Community Survey, Quick Facts and the American Fact Finder. You can narrow your searches to the area immediately surrounding your Library, as well as for your entire municipality or county – and map it too.

For help using the Census, contact the Census Bureau's New York Office (for all NJ counties): 1-800-991-2520 or

Brunie Sánchez, Data Dissemination Specialist from the NY office, does a good overview of the Census during her 2 or 3 hour presentations. You can contact her directly at: . Her presentations are free. Pull some library staff together from your location and/or include staff from other libraries and set up training to learn how to access demographics of your communities.

InfoPeople offers webinar about census data

Census Data Immersion: From Novice to Skilled Data Miner in 60 Minutes.  Using this webinar, its handouts and presentations, you can learn how to: find census data for your neighborhood just by entering your address; enter your city and state name and see more than 450 characteristics about your city; make a table comparing all of the counties in any state using one data point; search for all data available on a single topic - like poverty - simply by entering a 2-digit code and a wildcard; and with one click, you can convert a data table to a thematic map;  create tables of business data as easily as you create demographic tables!

Aging Population Map -  US Counties

A clickable map displaying 2010-2000 Census demographics and age group statistics for each U.S. county.


Library Accessibility –What You Need to Know

The Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) created fifteen tip sheets that were "developed to help librarians in all types of libraries understand and manage access issues. These issues include but are not limited to: patrons who have cognitive, mental, or emotional illnesses; patrons with learning and/or developmental disabilities; patrons with service animals; patrons needing assistive technologies; and, patrons with physical disabilities. Each tipsheet addresses a specific concern, and was updated in 2010." 

National Recovery Month

Next September, acknowledge Recovery Month in your Library!  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) informs us that this event has been celebrated for over 20 years and "promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover."

Click here for resources you may use for planning a Recovery Month event next year.

Tips for Serving your Customers who may be Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Take a look at this blog post: Reaching All Users: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Patrons in the Library – A TTW Guest Post by Holly Lipschultz.

Ms. Lipschultz is "profoundly deaf and wear(s) a cochlear implant and a hearing aid". Her post shares some tips for communicating with people who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as some suggestions for accessibility to libraries' services and programs.

Tips for Serving your Customers who may be Mentally Ill

"NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope for all of those in need." - from NAMI's website.

NAMI offers support and programs to libraries also.  Speakers can visit your library and speak to staff about customer service for those who may be mentally ill for no cost.  Speakers can also lead a free series of programs for family caregivers of individuals with severe mental illnesses or for those individuals themselves.  They offer support groups; education for providers, teachers, veterans, and parents; legal resources...and much more. 

Their Multicultural Action Center (MAC) provides educational resources for those who are mentally ill and their families from diverse cultures in both print and video formats, as well as information in other languages and links to additional organizations.

Published by NAMI in 2012, their Multicultural Engagement & Inclusion Planning Guide should help your organization with its outreach efforts to this population.  Don't forget to celebrate Mental Illness Awareness Week every year, held during the first full week in October.  NAMI offers good suggestions for events you can host at your libraries.  They have also posted benchmarks for cultural competence for your organization. 

Check out NAMI's NJ Chapters for many more additional resources, including links to NAMI programs held in NJ and multicultural information and outreach to specific diverse groups here in NJ, including those of African American, Hispanic/Latino, South Asian and Chinese origins.Take advantage of NAMI's wonderful resources!

Digital Literacy

ALA has a Digital Literacy Task Force

Digital literacy is a necessary component for success in today's world, yet according to a 2012 report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project (Digital Differences) "...senior citizens, those who prefer to take our surveys in Spanish rather than English, adults with less than a high school education, and those living in households earning less than $30,000 per year are the least likely adults to have Internet access."  In addition, almost half of US adults living with disabilities are NOT online.  Lack of digital literacy is a serious issue in poorer urban and rural areas.  Libraries are a major player in teaching digital literacy to our communities.  Check out this draft report from the ALA's Digital Literacy Task Forc: Digital Literacy, Libraries and Public Policy.

Digital Inclusion Needs Assessment

A "summary of results from a nationwide community digital inclusion needs assessment conducted in February 2012 completed by state libraries, public libraries, city/county/town managers, and community-based organizations" - an article by Betha Gutsche and Elizabeth Morris and brought to us by WebJunction.  Also includes list of current digital inclusion projects submitted by libraries in U.S.

Libraries: Narrowing the Digital Divide

If you can access a computer, check out these videos created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation illustrating how libraries can help those who do not have access to computers connected to the Internet.

Consider using these during your outreach visits - or loop them on a monitor near your circulation desk.

EDGE Initiative

"Launched in March 2011, the EDGE initiative is an effort driven by a coalition of leading and local government organizations to develop public access technology benchmarks for public libraries.  Many residents, especially in urban and rural areas, cannot afford internet access or a computer.  A digital divide certainly exists in our state and country.  Read more about the benefits of the Benchmarks and the actual EDGE Benchmarks created after libraries across the country were surveyed and which is designed to help libraries increase access to technology.  A Resource Guide, with the benchmarks, indicators and resources, will be published during Spring 2013.

Tech-a-la-Carte Webinar - outreach using mobile labs

Enjoy this archived webinar available from techsoup for libraries.  "Irene Romsa, manager of the Outreach Department for the Poudre River Public Library District (CO), and Alba Williams, bilingual instructor, provided an insider's tour of Tech-a-la-Carte. With this small mobile computer lab, the library takes technology training into the community… sometimes right into the homes of community members. The lab provides the library with the flexibility to respond to the particular needs (content, location, time, and day) of specific groups. The webinar discussed important issues such as safety, technical solutions, popular class topics, and more."  This service helps the PRPLD meet the EDGE benchmark 8: Libraries build strategic relationships with community partners to maximize public access technology resources and services provided to the community. 

Using mobile labs to teach digital literacy in areas where the underserved can't access library services due to distance, language barriers and/or limited mobility opens up so many possibilities for different community members, including immigrants, those incarcerated, small businesses, churches, homebound, senior and more. 

Social Justice and Libraries

Great information can be found at

Libraries and Access to Justice webinars

With a surge in the number of people seeking assistance for issues with a legal dimension, partnerships between access-to-justice organizations and the libraries in their communities are more important than ever. Pro Bono Net held a series of four free webinars during the fall of 2012,  Libraries and Access to Justice. Topics included information needs among low-income and vulnerable Americans (including veterans, immigrants, etc.) key online resources (including referral resources), and developing collaborations between libraries and legal aid programs.

The goal of the series is to increase awareness among librarians and community stakeholders about online access to justice resources that are available to them, how librarians can access and utilize those resources to better educate and assist their patrons with legal needs, and models for legal aid-library collaborations to connect people with legal information. I was really interested in the forms created in many states so that the poor or others who wish/have to represent themselves may do so. Some states work with to have on  line interviews (many in different languages) which create completed legal forms for the library patrons who answer the questions. Let's join them, NJ!          

National Consumer Law Center (NCLC)   

From their website:  "The National Consumer Law Center is a nonprofit advocacy organization that seeks to build economic security and family wealth for low-income and other economically disadvantaged Americans. We promote access to quality financial services and protect family assets from unfair and exploitive transactions that wipe out resources and undermine self-sufficiency. For over 40 years NCLC has used its expertise to write the rules of a fair marketplace."

National Resource Directory (NRD)

From their website: "Connecting Wounded Warriors, Service Members, Veterans, Their Families and Caregivers with Those Who Support Them"

Additional Information

ALA's Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS)

"OLOS focuses attention on services that are inclusive of traditionally underserved populations, including new and non-readers, people geographically isolated, people with disabilities, rural and urban poor people, and people generally discriminated against based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, language and social class."  They provide resources for Outreach to Underserved Populations - specifically the poor, homeless, GLBTs, differently-abled, people of color, older adults, those incarcerated or recently released, adult new and non-readers, rural, native and tribal libraries and bookmobile communities.

Extending Our Reach: Reducing Homelessness Through Library Engagement

From ALA's Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS),  their free digital or print toolkit (October 2012) for helping libraries connect with the homeless.

Homeless Assistance Resources in New Jersey

From the National Resource Directory for veterans, service members and their families - here are resouces for NJ's homeless vets (homeless resources for other community members also included).

ALA's Diversity in the Workplace

Resources about bias, civility, employment discrimination and incorporating diversity into strategic planning.

Getting Out to Get In(Clusive)

The what, why, where, how of library outreach and three examples of innovative programs are addressed in this GREAT article by Betha Gutsche, brought to us by WebJunction.

How to Serve the World @ your library

ALA's toolkit for serving speakers of other languages in your library.