Staff at CONUL Libraries empowered to be ‘catalysts for change’ with 6-month EDI course

Irish Centre for Diversity logo

Since January, staff at CONUL member institutions have been participating in online training with the Irish Centre for Diversity. The training involved 6 online sessions, each one lasting an hour, and allowed library staff to build their awareness of diversity, inclusion and equality issues. The training began with an introduction to diversity and unconscious bias and then delved sensitively but pragmatically in to LGBTQI+, Race Awareness, Neurodiversity, Disability and Mental Health as important topics for ourselves, our library users and our work colleagues.

It was very encouraging to see high level of attendance at the course, sustained at 80% monthly until we hit the summer leave period where it dropped a little. The attendance rates reflect the commitment of staff at CONUL Libraries to increasing our knowledge of EDI matters.

The level of participant engagement with the course was also high. The trainer’s style was very participative, and delegates enjoyed the freedom to ask questions and enter debate in a safe learning environment where real examples were teased out confidentially in the various sessions. One participant commented “these sessions make me feel more confident because they mostly reinforce what I thought was the right way to support members of minority groups, but I wasn’t entirely sure and am sometimes reluctant to ask”.  
This course represented 200+ hours of EDI training for staff at CONUL member institutions, conveniently delivered online. Participants noted in their feedback that it would be beneficial for more staff to attend similar training and better understand EDI.This sentiment from one participant sums up the value that this training represented; “I hope we can be catalysts for change within our organisations”.

Our sincere thanks to the CONUL Training & Development Group for organising this training, in particular to outgoing committee member Elizabeth Kirwan (NLI) for spearheading the work in 2022 to get it underway. Thanks also to the member libraries that supported their staff’s participation in the course. Attendees will receive certificate of completion from the Irish Centre for Diversity.