CENL Webinar: Diversity & Inclusion in National Libraries

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CENL Webinar: Diversity & Inclusion in National Libraries with Bonnie Greer

About this event

CENL is proud to announce the first of its webinar series, which will take place every 3 months exclusively for the CENL members. These webinars will be an opportunity to hear directly from CENL members and learn from them about the challenges they are facing and how they are addressing them, as well as from external speakers to bring new ideas and experiences.

Our first webinar taking place on Monday 14th December, will focus on Diversity & Inclusion in national libraries. As national libraries, we want to ensure that our collections, events and exhibitions are inclusive and representative of and for all communities but this can be complex work with multiple layers and sensitivities. To explore these challenges, we will be joined by playwright and author Bonnie Greer for a keynote exploring the very nature and meaning of diversity itself. Bonnie will discuss national libraries and their discontents, and libraries as creators of a “unified theory”. She will speak from personal experience and her ‘Era Of Reclamation work’ with the British Museum. Her keynote will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Dr Sandra Collins focusing on examples of how national libraries are engaging with LGBTQ+ communities, minority languages and developing an inclusive culture.

Join us at 5pm GMT on Monday 14th December. The event is free.


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  • Bonnie Greer

Bonnie Greer was born on the Southside of Chicago and has lived in London for over 3 decades. She is a dual national. Bonnie is an award-winning playwright; an author and novelist. She has been a member of the boards of several arts organisations, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

She was a Trustee of the British Museum and deputy chair of the Board. At the invitation of the current director, Hartwig Fischer, she has returned to the British Museum to create with him a project around diversity and inclusion called “The Era Of Reclamation”. It launched in January 2020 with a series of sold-out onstage talks at the Museum and is now online during the pandemic. Bonnie also blogs for the Museum on the subject of what she calls: “Meta Africa”- that bigger picture of enslavement; colonialism…and the genius that these atrocities created within people of African descent. She considers “Diaspora” too weak a word to describe the descendants of an extraordinary leap in humankind.

She was awarded an OBE for her services to the arts, an honour that she accepted on behalf of her late father who, as a young soldier in a segregated army, fought for the liberation of Europe during WW2. She pinned the medal on her mother’s corpse at her funeral. Bonnie believes that all medals saying “Empire” should be laid to rest.

  • Dr Sandra Collins, National Library of Ireland

Dr Sandra Collins is the Director of the National Library of Ireland. The NLI collects and makes available the recorded memory of Ireland, caring for more than 10 million items, including books, newspapers, manuscripts, prints, drawings, ephemera, photographs and digital media.

Originally a mathematician, Sandra has worked in digital innovation and cultural heritage over 20 years in the public and private sectors. She was the founding Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland in the Royal Irish Academy and was a Scientific Programme Manager in Science Foundation Ireland. Sandra has been a member of the Executive of the Conference of European National Librarians since 2018, and is a member of the Irish Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations, and the Boards of the Chester Beatty Library, the Irish Manuscripts Commission and the Irish Consortium of National and University Libraries (CONUL).

  • Karin Grönvall, National Library of Sweden

Karin Grönvall started her library career at the National Library, focusing on licensing electronic resources for the higher education sector. She was then recruited to the Karolinska Institutet University Library, responsible for the licensing work and further on in charge of the information provision of the university. Karin has been library manager at Södertörn University and the Swedish University of agricultural sciences, focusing on development areas such as student support and data management. In 2019, she was appointed National Librarian by the Minister for Higher Education and Research in Sweden.

  • Cecile Communal, British Library

Cecile Communal joined the British Library in 2018 after working in the music industry for 10 years. She is currently working in the International team of the British Library as International Engagement Manager and takes an active role in the CENL Secretariat. She is also the co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Employee Network of the British Library, which aims to share LGBTQ+ stories in the British Library’s collections and to develop a supportive, creative and innovative organisation where everyone is welcome.

For more information about CENL, please visit https://www.cenl.org/


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