Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Last updated: June 17, 2022

What RAILS Is Doing: 
  • RAILS Strategic Plan (2022-2025): The RAILS Board approved a new strategic plan in January 2022 that includes a model for best practices in equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion (under Strategic Goal 2).

    • Objective 1: RAILS will provide leadership in developing and providing resources that will support member libraries' efforts to provide equitable, diverse, and inclusive services.
    • Objective 2: Examine all aspects of RAILS policies, procedures, and core services through an equity lens and make needed improvements.
    • Objective 3: Work with RAILS members of all types to identify and implement ways to diversify library governing bodies and staff to increase representation and better reflect the communities they serve.
  • The RAILS Board Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee.
    Meeting schedule
    The committee charge is to:

    • Develop a shared understanding of the nature of systemic racism and bias in libraries and library-related organizations and how to combat it
    • Advise the RAILS Board and staff about appropriate equity and accountability goals to which RAILS and libraries should aspire
    • Recommend ways to assess progress toward achieving those goals
      ​​The committee will also help to: identify barriers in libraries and the library field and solutions to eliminate them; develop ideas and programs to increase awareness about systemic racism and bias among member libraries, staff and boards; and facilitate system wide discussion about EDI.
    • Programs & Outreach Subcommittee (Last meeting in December 2021, no further meetings scheduled)
    • Recruitment, Hiring & Retention Subcommittee (Last meeting in December 2021, no further meetings scheduled)
    • Staff Training, Leadership & Advocacy Subcommittee (Last meeting in December 2021, no further meetings scheduled)
  • RAILS Selects Seven Recipients for EDI Training Grants (grant info) July 2021
  • RAILS Statement Condemning Anti-Asian Hate Crimes
  • Sparks Podcast Episode 28: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • RAILS EDI Mailing List
    All RAILS member library staff members interested in sharing ideas and best practices related to EDI are invited to subscribe to our EDI mailing list by visiting the Email Lists page in the Members section of the RAILS website and clicking on the Subscribe link for this mailing list.
  • Internal RAILS Staff EDI Initiative
    RAILS is beginning to work with a consultant on an internal staff EDI initiative. We need to examine and make the necessary changes to our own culture so we can authentically work with others on equity, diversity and inclusion. We will share our experiences as they develop via this pulse page.
  • RAILS EDI Goals and Objectives
    RAILS is currently working with our board on a document that better defines our EDI goals and objectives and includes action steps for achieving them. This document will continue to change and develop. Review Draft RAILS Responsibilities to Build a Better Society document.
  • Networking Groups:
    • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Team in Youth Services (EDITY-YS)
      Library staff interested in meeting with like-minded youth services library staff to discuss diversity of all kinds are invited to join this networking group.
    • BIPOC Library Workers (BIPOC LW)
      This group aims to foster connection, share resources and discuss specific experiences in a safe, welcome, and open space for all library workers members who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color.
    • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Metadata networking group (DEI in Metadata)
      This group aims to foster the importance of a shared understanding of the inclusive library metadata practices in Illinois libraries. This group will also provide advice and support for Illinois libraries to create and maintain more equitable, diverse, and inclusive metadata content.
    • Illinois Libraries Present
      The Illinois Joint Library Programming Group provides high-quality online events at equitable prices for participating member libraries of all sizes and budgets. To provide high-quality, high-profile events that highlight national names and social justice/DEI issues, that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive for single libraries to hold on their own


​​eRead Illinois Axis 360:

  • eRead Illinois Axis 360 includes a curated list of racial justice titles with numerous anti-racism bestsellers. eRead Illinois Axis 360 members can access all of the titles in the bestsellers list. The list can also be added to an eRead library's Axis 360 site. See instructions.
  • Lawrence Hill Books: always available quality nonfiction on progressive politics, civil and human rights, feminism, and topics of interest to African Americans and other underrepresented groups.
Library Examples: 

Survey/Member Feedback

  • Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Activities Survey
    Please submit information about your library's EDI activities.
    See survey results here.

Other Resources: 

    American Library Association Resources

    Illinois Library Association Resources

    LibGuides and other Academic Library Resources

    General Resources