Goal Two of the RAILS Strategic Plan (2022-2025) is: RAILS models best practices in equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion. This goal focuses on three objectives and will be the basis of RAILS' EDI work for the next three years. This pulse page will provide updates on what RAILS is doing, a list of upcoming and recorded EDI events, and EDI-related resources for our members. If you have comments or questions about the issue of equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion, please add them to the Comments section at the bottom of this page.
RAILS Strategic Plan
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.
EDI Learning Cohort
The current RAILS Strategic Plan addresses our members' expressed need for EDI leadership by including it as one of our four strategic goals. With this in mind, RAILS is pleased to launch our inaugural equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) learning cohort. Forty RAILS members have been selected to participate in the cohort beginning October 2022 and running through May 2023. Cohort members were selected from libraries across our service area and serve in a variety of roles at their respective libraries. This special learning opportunity will engage participants in a collective discourse on critical EDI issues in a supportive setting, and help them learn together how to navigate the opportunities and challenges in the communities they serve. Sessions are held via Zoom on the second Thursday of each month from 10 a.m. – noon. Direct questions to Joe Filapek, RAILS Director of Consulting and Continuing Education, or 630.734.5132.
RAILS Board EDI Committee
- RAILS Board Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee information
- 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)
- 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:
- Go to your Axis 360 admin page and login
- Navigate to Settings > List Management
- Click on the button next to "Hide Disabled Lists"
- Switch the lists status button for the Racial Justice list to "Enabled"
- The Racial Justice list should now appear on your Axis 360 homepage
EDI Training Grants
To support continuing education (CE) for member library staff throughout our service area, RAILS offers training grants of up to $2,000 for libraries, networking groups, or library consortia.
To qualify, CE events must be made available to all RAILS member libraries and of interest to a wide range of library staff. In addition to prioritizing geographic diversity and training for multiple library types in evaluating grant applications, RAILS will also prioritize events focused on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Internal EDI Initiative
RAILS is working 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 Statement Condemning Anti-Asian Hate Crimes
March 18, 2021
The Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) stands in solidarity with the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) in its statement recognizing and strongly condemning the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States.
We are disappointed and saddened by the rise in discrimination and violence aimed at the Asian American community following the coronavirus pandemic. Asian Americans should feel safe and free from racial discrimination at school, work, and in public spaces.
RAILS encourages our members to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in their programs, collections, hiring practices, and policies. RAILS remains committed to developing a shared understanding of the nature of systemic racism and bias in libraries and library related organizations and is working to combat it.
We call on our members to join us in condemning anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander racism.