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We are thrilled to share LEO has been awarded a grant funding six regionally-based cohorts in rural Oregon, supporting library staff, board members, and key volunteers in a year-long commitment to move equity work forward in rural, conservative communities.

This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the State Library of Oregon.


An Overview of the Cohort Program


The work of the cohorts is based on the Oregon Library Association's EDI & Antiracism Committee's recently developed and released Anti-Racism toolkit [PDF] with a focus on each session putting the learning into practice, supporting cohort participants in implementing what they have learned at their libraries and in their communities. We thank the EDIAC for their incredible work developing the toolkit.

In regionally-based groups of no more than 15, participants will work together, learning, developing, and implementing skills and best practices that are critical to introducing lasting and successful EDI initiatives in small, rural, and conservative communities. The cohorts are intended to be a space for library staff to gain and deepen understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) concepts and, through personal, supported study and exploration, gain confidence to promote equity work in their communities, partnering with existing groups and community members of color as an authentic advocate and ally. These are public library services best practices; true access for all is an essential part of what libraries need to do. In recognition of the essential role they play in small libraries, public library trustees and key library volunteers were encouraged to apply, as were library staff in community college and school libraries in the region.

Cohort Meetings

The first two cohort sessions will be full-group virtual meetings, held on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 from 8:30am to noon and Thursday, January 13, 2022 from 8:30am to noon. The following two sessions will be in person, with cohorts located in Grants Pass (two separate cohorts), Prineville, Pendleton, La Grande, and Ontario. Dates vary for these sessions based on the facilitator, but will be between March and early June of 2022. There is no travel until spring 2022; if COVID remains an issue, social distancing, cleaning, and masking protocols will be in place according to state guidelines. 

Virtual meetings will be approximately 3 hours; in person meetings will range between 4 and 6 hours. Participants will have homework assignments between sessions. We anticipate the overall time commitment to be approximately 40 hours between October 2021 and June 2022.

Support for Participants

The grant funds the travel expenses for all participants, as well as a pool for substitute coverage for both the virtual and in-person sessions for our colleagues in solo libraries. Libraries are encouraged to send more than one staff person, and are welcome to extend the opportunity to key volunteers and Board members. Those interested should fill out the short application; this application takes approximately 5 minutes to fill out.

Cohort Facilitators

The EDI Cohorts project will be led by the incredible Christina Fuller-Gregory, who has been a longtime member of and has served as co-chair of the Public Library Association's EDISJ (equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice) committee. Christina played a critical leadership role in developing PLA's EDI work, including the regional trainings offered pre-pandemic and the EDI-focused Leadership Lab. Christina will be joined by two additional session facilitators, Tiffany Russell, who is well-known for her social work perspective and experience with trauma-informed library service, and Charity Tooze of Dancing Hearts Consulting, a consultancy based in southern and central Oregon. Dancing Hearts Consulting led the We Count Oregon Census 2020 efforts and is active in redistricting efforts.


Frequently Asked Questions

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information on the cohorts, including more information on our facilitators, who should participate in the cohorts, the content of the cohort sessions, and expectations for cohort participants.

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