Maryland State Library Resource Center

Enoch Pratt Free Library

SLRC DEI Conference - Maryland State Library Resource Center

Enoch Pratt Free Library and State Library Resource Center Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference 2023: This is What Democracy Looks Like!


The Enoch Pratt Free Library and State Library Resource Center Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference is an annual public service conference for library staff throughout Maryland. The conference brings together presentations on the topic of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, this year on the theme of This is what Democracy Looks Like!

This year's conference will be held virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, October 24, 2023 and in-person at the State Library Resource Center on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.

As always, all SLRC conferences are free of charge for library staff.



Zoom invitations to the Tuesday, October 24, 2023 virtual events will be sent to registered participants by Monday, October 16, 2023. Links to session recordings, slides, and handouts will be available where possible after the conference.

Breakfast, lunch and a snack will be provided for the in-person event on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.

Find parking close to the State Library Resource Center.


If you have any additional questions about the conference, please contact Paula Mitchell (, or

Fall 2023 Sessions

Tuesday, October 24th (virtual)

Under Scrutiny
Darcy Lipp-Acord

All around the country, politically motivated challenges to library patrons’ freedom to read and library staff members’ ability to do their jobs are increasing. Many of these challenges have moved from simple complaints and removal requests to abusive, sometimes dangerous behavior. In this webinar, you’ll hear from Darcy Lipp-Acord, the Youth Services Librarian at Campbell County Public Library in Gillette, WY. As someone who has been on the front lines of this harassment, she will present information linking strategies of book challenging groups with abusive behaviors typically found in domestic relationships and offer strategies for dealing with those behaviors as front-facing library staff. You’ll learn about common strategies used by political groups in their efforts to censor youth materials, how to identify and name these behaviors, and how doing so can empower library staff to develop proactive strategies for responding in ways that protect their safety and integrity.

Striving Beyond ADA Compliance
Mariette Largesse

In working with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion the accessibility aspect is often forgotten. Accessibility should be the cornerstone of DEI. Accessibility in academic libraries ensures that diverse, disabled student populations can succeed, but ADA requirements and compliance are just the beginning. Libraries must go beyond those requirements to ensure usability for all. In many ways accessibility is built into every piece of technology we use, yet most students and faculty do not know how to use these features or make them work with many of the unique systems and technologies that libraries provide. The UMGC Library is working to enhance our accessibility, but more than that, we want to be a usable research point for all students, faculty, and staff.

Virtual Keynote: The Rough Guide to Citizen Engagement in Public Libraries
Filipa Barros, Coordenação Biblioteca de Belém I Internacionalização, Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, & Susana Silvestre, Founder, Boost Your Thinking

Co-authored by librarians from the Lisbon Libraries Network and PL2030, the Rough Guide to Citizen Engagement in Public Libraries (PDF download) explores the role of public libraries in facilitating citizen engagement processes. Published by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, the Rough Guide showcases how public libraries can enhance the social impact within their communities and outside, arguing that public libraries can play a greater role in policy making and creating a space to address policy issues collectively. This guide was published in 2023 by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, the Rough Guide was launched during a session on “New ways of democracy: Citizen engagement in public libraries” at the Next Library Festival 2023 in Aarhus in May, and explores the role of public libraries in facilitating citizen engagement processes and provides a library toolkit. The toolkit provides key concepts and tools for fostering democracy in public libraries, demonstrates how public libraries can actively create social impact within their communities, and centers public libraries as crucial spaces to collectively address policy issues.

Wednesday October 25, 2023 (in-person)

Keynote Panel: Reading, Rights, and Representation: The Library's Role in Democracy

This powerful panel features Tracie D. Hall, ALA Executive Director; Sonia Alcantara-Antoine, PLA President; and Tiffany Sutherland, MLA President. Our panelists will discuss the crucial role library professionals play in supporting, defending and strengthening democracy in our society. Moderated by M’Balu Bangura, EPFL Director of Equity and Fair Practice.

Civic Challenges Town Hall

What does Democracy look like in your community? What is your personal experience of the Library as a civic institution in a democracy? Come share with your colleagues from around the state and region in this discussion.

Introduction to SLRC Services

Join us for this overview of SLRC’s different services and roles. In addition to learning about all of our behind-the-scenes work, you’ll find out how SLRC can support your work with programs, training and materials.

Making Democracy Accessible

Learn about different types of assistive technology and other accessibility resources. We will discuss the ways that these resources can help people with disabilities participate in civic life, including voting, tracking political issues, contacting elected officials, and performing local government tasks.

Special Collections Showcase: Women's Suffrage Collection

Explore SLRC’s Women's Suffrage collection about the fight for the vote in Maryland. Review items from the collection, and explore exhibit panels that highlight key features of the Woman’s Suffrage campaign.

Tour of SLRC

Join us for this express tour of SLRC. View building highlights, and find out how SLRC can support your work with programs, training and materials.

Seeing Ourselves: The Euphoria of Transgender Representation in Books
Will Cole

Dr. Will Cole speaks about the importance of access to factual information on transgender issues, and about the significance of accurate and diverse representation of trans and nonbinary people in fiction and nonfiction books and other media. Will shares from his personal perspective as a trans person, as well as his role as a transgender health consultant and public health expert.

Social Justice Programming in Library Spaces

Find out about EPFL’s latest programs and initiatives designed to promote equity and fair practice in the library, and the community. Staff from our D.E.I. team will share information about their work connecting with our customers in new, innovative, and supportive ways.

Bollywood Groove

Experience mindfulness and expand your experience of other cultures with Learn and practice a dance that celebrates the Hindu festival of Navaratri.

Sensory Programming 101

Explore strategies for developing and implementing Sensory Play activities in Children’s Programming. What is sensory programming? Who is it for? Why should libraries do sensory programming? If you’ve ever found yourself asking these questions, this session is for you.

Civic Engagement in Uncivil Times
Shari Henry, Director of Democracy and Community Impact, Urban Libraries Council

Amidst a backdrop of an increasingly polarized public and inundation of unreliable information, libraries are designing programs and offering resources to facilitate healthy public dialogue around human rights, free expression, and civic responsibility. Attendees will hear how libraries across the U.S. and Canada are creating welcoming public squares and open forums to foster dialogue and grow understanding. Snapshots will include examples of civic salons and community conversations, voter registration drives, and educational programs around everyone’s right to free expression as guaranteed in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Democracy Looks Like…. Voting

Libraries are uniquely positioned to empower people and enhance the democratic process. Representatives from the Blue and Gold Democratic Club of Maryland will explore the vital role that libraries play in promoting civic engagement, voter education, and increasing voter turnout.

The Art and Science of Building and Maintaining Collections During Challenging Times

With emphasis on Enoch Pratt’s collections, this presentation will examine past and present materials purchases practices through the lens of societal change. We’ll also consider the impetus to build collections that are representative of our communities using tools such as the library’s collection development policy (How Baltimore Chooses), and collection development aggregators like Library IQ. ALA Guidelines, the notion of Freedom of Speech, the reality of book banning and book challenges, and public policy will also be covered during this session.

D.E.I. Unconference

Do you have ideas about DEI and Democracy in Libraries? Is there something you want to discuss with your colleagues and peers? Do you want to unpack your reaction to the keynote session? Join facilitator Sam Eddington for this Un-Conference conversation.

Celebrating Excellence: The 20th Anniversary of the African-American Department

Join Vivian Fisher, Founding Manager of the African-American Department at the State Library Resource Center, to learn about the history of the department, public programs and presentations, the collection, the art in the space, and to explore the 20th Anniversary Exhibit - Celebrating Excellence.

Celebrate Navaratri

Mix & mingle with SLRC staff and conference attendees to celebrate Navaratri - a celebration of women and empowerment in Hindu culture.

Statewide Training & Events


From Merlin, the learning community for Maryland library staff