Strategic Roadmap for the 'EDI Framework for NJ Libraries’

Strategic Roadmap for the 'EDI Framework for NJ Libraries’

Strategic Roadmap for EDI Framework for NJ Libraries

The primary purpose of the NJ Statewide EDI Initiative is to coordinate the EDI-related activities and projects of our professional organizations throughout the state, aligning them with the EDI Framework for NJ Libraries. This project will provide a roadmap and framework to establish a sustainable environment for the EDI efforts of NJ libraries and library organizations.


Background
In 2022, the New Jersey Library AssociationLibraryLinkNJ, and New Jersey State Library announced the EDI Framework for New Jersey Libraries, which embodies a commitment to action towards achieving a library community in New Jersey that demonstrates the values of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI).

The framework plans to achieve this through multiple actions, including: 

  • Developing an EDI plan that will provide immediate actions that NJ libraries and library organizations can undertake to assess and correct identified EDI issues. Areas of investigation may include but are not limited to culture, hiring, board recruitment, policies, collection development, access to opportunities, programs, and services.
  • Commitment to ongoing training and development of library workers and trustees, to grow and sustain a culture of EDI within NJ’s library workforce.
  • The training, development, and certification of library workers as conversation facilitators on EDI topics.
  • Ongoing commitment of human, financial and other resources to EDI issues.

In 2023, the EDI-NJ group was formed to implement these action items. This effort was not intended to replace existing initiatives, and a state-wide invitation was extended to library workers to volunteer to be part of the development team. Library workers of all-types and representatives from major library organizations and consortia, including New Jersey Association of School Libraries (NJASL), New Jersey Association of Library Assistants (NJALA)Virtual Academic Library Environment of New Jersey (VALE), Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS), Main Library Alliance, and PALS Plus have joined the group. We plan to expand this partnership to any New Jersey library organization that shares the same commitment.

Under EDI-NJ, working groups were developed to work in the areas of Collections, Advocacy/Outreach, Programming, Governance and Policies, and Staff Development. After about 12 months, there was some progress but members began struggling with how to pull everything together -- the group decided to reassess its focus. Team members completed a survey to identify what areas of focus should be established. The areas identified were:

  • Find an EDI expert to help guide and shape the process
  • Develop an Impact Study
  • Create a DEIA Toolkit for Directors & Leadership Trainings
  • Develop Culture Connection opportunities to promote the EDI in library workplace

The group has transformed these areas into subprojects, and a parent project, the Strategic Roadmap for the 'EDI Framework for NJ Libraries,’ has been developed in 2024. 


Strategic Roadmap for the 'EDI Framework for NJ Libraries’ Project
(February 2024 - June 2025)

Project Goals & Objectives:
The project team moves forward with finalizing the project planning, and the timeline for the following project goals and objectives will be updated in May 2024 accordingly. 

  • Goal 1: Build Capacity for EDI: Increase the knowledge, skills, and abilities of library staff across New Jersey in understanding and implementing EDI principles.
    • Design and develop DEIA Toolkit for Directors by the end of June 2024.
    • Develop and offer a leadership training workshop for library directors by the end of September 2024.
    • Establish an EDI resource hub for ongoing learning and support accessible to all library staff, including training modules, by the end of December 2024.
    • Implement a collective EDI assessment of LibraryLinkNJ, NJLA, and NJSL for their service and programs to foster EDI in libraries, as the major service providers to the NJ library community.
       
  • Goal 2: Foster Inclusive Library Environments: Create welcoming, inclusive, and safe library environments for diverse populations, promoting equity and respect for all.
    • Develop Individual and Institutional EDI assessment and audit modules for library staff and libraries by the end of June 2024, which will enable NJ libraries to self-assess their environments and practices annually.
    • Implement pilot projects with ten selected multitype libraries, using the EDI assessment and audit modules, by the end of April 2025.
       
  • Goal 3: Strengthen Diverse Staff Power in Library Workspaces across New Jersey to Serve the Diverse Communities More Effectively.
    • Develop the Professional Development Fund Program and offer the program's funds by the end of June 2025.
    • Develop and host at least three (3) special events through Culture Connection by the end of June 2025.
       
  • Goal 4: Enhance Library Services and Accessibility: Improve the accessibility and inclusivity of library services for all customers, especially underserved and marginalized communities within New Jersey.
    • Launch an initiative to incorporate diverse voices in library programming by creating a performers & speakers database by the end of June 2024.
    • Implement an ‘Impact Study: Which EDI measures actually work, and which work best’ by the end of December 2024
    • Conduct a statewide assessment survey of library services to identify accessibility and inclusivity gaps by the end of December 2024.

Working with EDI Expert 
Ozy joined the project team as the subject matter expert in April 2024. She will provide guidance to help the team carry out the project plans.

Ozy Aloziem

Ozy Aloziem, M.S.W.
Founder, Heal Inc LLC

With over 10 years of experience in social justice advocacy and educational excellence, I specialize in guiding organizations through transformative Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives. I blend healing-centered practices and trauma-informed methodologies with a steadfast commitment to racial equity, influencing policy and practice in these domains.

As the founder of my own consultancy, I partner with various organizations to assess their culture, identify areas for growth, and implement sustainable equity-focused strategies. I also design and deliver training and workshops that enhance cultural awareness, challenge systemic biases, and foster inclusive environments. As a social work lecturer and DEI curriculum specialist at Metropolitan State University of Denver, I provide instruction and advising to social work students, ensuring they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to serve diverse communities. My goal is to leverage my expertise to drive institutional transformation and sustainable change.

Project Team

Project Sponsors: 
Ralph Bingham Executive Director, LibraryLinkNJ
Brett Bonfield, Executive Director, NJLA
Jen Nelson, State Librarian, NJSL

Team Leadership: 
Selwa Shamy, EDI-NJ Group Leader, Montclair Public Library
Brett Bonfield, Executive Director, NJLA
Ali Cole, Program Manager, VALE
Ralph Bingham, Executive Director, LibraryLinkNJ

Subject Matter Expert (SME): Ozy Aloziem, Founder, Heal Inc LLC

Project Manager: Mi-Sun Lyu, Project Manager, LibraryLinkNJ

 

Subproject: DEIA Toolkit for Directors & Leadership Trainings: 
Ashley Mitchell, Co-Chair, Camden County Library System
Tanya Finney Estrada, Co-Chair, Pennsauken Free Public Library
Melaina Squicciarini, Highland Park Public Library
Sharon Owens, Newark Public Library
Heather Kristian, Pennsauken Free Public Library
Michelle Yeager, Cherry Hill Public Library

Subproject: Impact Study:
Laura Giacobbe, Chair, Monmouth University Library
Ellen Pozzi, William Paterson University Library
Heather Kristian, Pennsauken Free Public Library

 

If you have any questions about this project, please contact us at Email