Author Archives: Chris Bourg

What are we talking about when we talk about leadership, technology, and gender?

We are delighted by the increased attention being given to topics related to gender, technology, and leadership, and we are hopeful that the LTG summit will be a productive addition to those conversations. In order to more fruitfully frame the set of possible conversations and topics we might cover at the LTG summit, we offer these initial ideas about what we might talk about when we talk about leadership, technology, and gender in libraries. We encourage readers to suggest additional topics in the comments.

  • Diversity/representation in library technology (and in libraries and higher ed in general):

    • what are the current demographic statistics for technology jobs in general and within libraries specifically? What are the trends?

    • what can we do to increase representation of not just women, but of other underrepresented groups as well?

    • what are examples of successful efforts to increase the representation of white women, people of colors, queer people, and members of other underrepresented groups in technology fields?

    • are there problems/solutions that are particular to libraries?

  • Sexism, racism, ableism, etc. in libraries/library technology:

    • silencing, microaggressions, and other individual behaviors

    • how does the prevailing straight white male culture of technology manifest in library technology?

    • what can leaders do to reduce individual discriminatory behavior? what can all of us do?

    • what can be done to change the culture of technology in libraries to be more welcoming and inclusive of all peoples?

  • Learning:

    • how can we take responsibility for our own education on these issues and effectively learn from others? (without offending/demanding “diversity 101”)

    • what are good sources of information on issues of gender, leadership, intersectionality, etc.?

  • Leadership, mentoring, modeling behavior:

    • whom do we look to as good models?

    • how can we as (emerging) leaders affect positive change in our orgs and in the profession?

    • what part can mentoring play in our own education and in the education of others?

    • how can we develop mentoring relationships with others (as mentees and as mentors)?

  • Gendered nature of technology itself:

    • how do the tools and technologies we build reflect both individual biases and the white patriarchal culture in which they are produced?

    • what can we do to try to build tools and technologies that reflect more inclusive values?

  • Intersectionality:

    • how does gender intersect with other statuses and axes of oppression? (race, sexuality, gender presentation/identity, social class, ability, etc.)

    • how do we acknowledge and address the role of privilege (white privilege, male privilege, straight privilege, etc) in these conversations and in our actions?

  • Community building:

    • how can we develop communities that foster continuing productive conversations on these issues?

    • what conversations are already going on, how can we contribute?

    • How can we bring these conversations back to our own organizations (without being didactic)?

  • Action:

    • how can we transform our talk into effective action?

    • how can we be more thoughtful in our everyday work?

    • What are some concrete things that we can implement within our own organizationss?

    • What professional resources are available to support us (e.g., ARL’s Diversity and Leadership Programs)?