Combating Racism in Libraries Part II:

Creating Spaces to Educate and Inform Communities


Date: Wednesday, May 11th, May 18th, May 25th, June 1st, and June 8th

Time: 2 – 3 p.m. EST


The Public Libraries Section (PLS) of NYLA is dedicated to supporting public libraries and public library staff of New York State. Ethnic Services Round Table (ESRT) has provided a forum for libraries and library staff to share information on ethnic services. IDEAS is the Instruction, Development, Equity, and Access Section. One of the purposes of IDEAS is to create opportunities for growth and renewal by confronting inequities and challenges impacting diverse library patrons and library staff.

United we value diversity, equity, inclusion, and stand against racism, hatred, and violence. To take action, we have collaborated to curate the webinar series, “Combating Racism in Libraries: Creating Spaces to Educate and Inform Our Communities.” These will be thought-provoking hours. The goal of the series is for libraries and library staff to learn, share, and discuss the historical and present-day barriers that communities are facing regarding racism against the BIPOC community. We hope you will join us to learn how we can combat racism together and create spaces for our communities to listen, learn, and grow.


Each webinar individually is $10 to attend with the option to register for all 5 webinars in the series collectively for $45 total. There is no differentiation in price if you are registering as a group versus as an individual. If you are registering for a group, please contact Christina at for a special link to share with each of your registrants.  


Session Descriptions

Let's Talk About Anti-Asian Hate

Date: Wednesday, May 11th

Participants will learn about the history of xenophobia in the U.S. Representatives from the NYC Commission on Human Rights will talk about NYC Human Rights Law protections and bystander intervention strategies that individuals can take against hate. At the end of the webinar, participants will be able to:


Sam Yang comes to the Commission on Human Rights as the Housing Liaison and Associate Human Rights Specialist for Queens. Prior to coming to the Commission on Human Rights, he worked at SUS (Services for the Underserved) at their HomeBase program, sponsored by the Department of Social Service, to assist families facing a housing crisis. Currently, Sam is working with the Center for Anti-Violence Education to provide bystander intervention training to community members and youth groups.  




Reintroducing R.A.C.E. with Teens (Racial Awareness and Community Education)

Date: Wednesday, May 18th

This webinar is going to be a thought-provoking hour where we will discuss various topics in an effort to fight racism in many spaces, environments, atmospheres, and lived experiences. At the end of the webinar participants will be able to:


Kirlyn Joseph grew up in Jamaica, Queens, and has dedicated her career to serving her community. Ms. Joseph received her degree in Political Science from the College of The Holy Cross and then enrolled in Boston College Law School. After graduating with her law degree in 1990, Ms. Joseph came back to Queens, NY, and began her career at the Legal Aid Society as an attorney in the Queens County Criminal Defense Division. In 1997 she joined Queens Defenders and now serves as the Director of Special Projects and leads their Family Law Practice.

Over her 30+ year career as an attorney, Ms. Joseph has developed specializations in criminal law, juvenile delinquency, and raise the age cases, as well as family law, and has extensive experience representing adults and children involved in the criminal, family, and juvenile justice systems. Ms. Joseph was instrumental in launching Queens Defenders’ youth programs which include the Youth Justice Court Program in partnership with the Queens Public Library, Youth Mentorship Program, as well as various community-based programs designed to educate youth and adults on their rights and the criminal, family, juvenile justice and immigration court systems.


Evaluating for Inclusive Programming

Date: Wednesday, May 25th

Evaluation is an essential part of planning to guide our decision-making process, program development, and outreach. Participants will be able to develop effective strategies and resources to help achieve the goal of inclusive programming.  At the end of the webinar, participants will be able to : 


Sharon Myrie has a broad wealth of experience in nonprofit management, citywide programs administration, and policy implementation. Sharon currently serves as the Vice President of Programs and Services for the Queens Public Library (QPL) where she oversees programs and services supporting sixty-six locations in Queens, New York. Prior to joining QPL, she served as Chief Executive Officer of Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT), providing critical support for unrepresented families in New York City’s Family Court. Under Sharon's leadership, LIFT increased its funding, and accessibility and expanded its programs. Sharon served as the Executive Vice President for Community Programs and Development for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), where she oversaw a wide spectrum of departments delivering educational, workforce development, cultural and social programs for public housing residents throughout all five boroughs. She also served as the Vice President of Education and Library Services at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and was Associate Executive Director of Programs at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, one of the oldest settlement houses in New York City. Sharon, an attorney, began her legal career at the New York City Law Department. She served as General Counsel and Deputy Director of the Office on Homelessness and SRO Housing under former Mayor David N. Dinkins. She participates in leadership positions at a number of nonprofit boards. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Ithaca College, and a Law Degree from The George Washington University Law School. 

Michelle Hamiel is known and respected throughout Maryland Libraries as an extraordinary leader with enhanced leadership skills and exceptional judgment. As Chief Operating Officer Michelle leads the mission, vision, innovation, and operations of the 19 branches and the county detention center. Her seasoned experience, dedication, and leadership skills have contributed to some of the Library's most high-profile initiatives, developing a strategic framework for a systemwide approach to race and social equity work, LINK, a program providing library access to all county public school students, and  the circulation of Wi-Fi enabled Chromebooks which allow home internet access for customers. She leads a cross-departmental team that has developed a career ladder that will change the trajectory of librarians within the library system.  Michelle works tirelessly to level the playing field for staff and residents in Prince George’s County Maryland. 

Leading the State of Maryland Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries, she is interminably working to assist Maryland library, CEOs, directors, and administrators with navigating equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism initiatives. Michelle also leads the Maryland Library Association task force for Equity Diversity and Inclusion. She proudly serves on the Urban Libraries Council Race and Social Equity Action Team. Michelle is a James Partridge award winner. She holds a Master’s degree in Library Science and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration.   She also receives inspiration from her students at the University of Maryland ISchool where she serves as an adjunct lecturer.  


Impact of Racism on Community Health

Date: Wednesday, June 1st

The BIPOC community has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Libraries can be the force to effect positive changes. At the end of the webinar participants will be able to:


Dr. Joseph Graves, Jr. is a Professor of Biological Sciences at North Carolina A&T State University. Dr. Joseph Graves, Jr. received his Ph.D. in Environmental, Evolutionary, and Systematic Biology from Wayne State University in 1988. In 2017, he was listed as an “Outstanding Graduate” in Biology at Oberlin College; and was an “Innovator of the Year” in US Black Engineer Magazine.

His books on the biology of race are entitled: The Emperor's New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium, Rutgers University Press, 2005 and The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America, Dutton Press, 2005; with Alan Goodman, Racism, Not Race: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, Columbia University Press, 2021. Racism, Not Race was named by Kirkus Reviews as “One of the Best Non-Fiction 2021” and its “Best Books About Being Black in America 2021”. Finally, his biopic work entitled, A Voice in the Wilderness: A Pioneering Biologist Explains How Evolution Can Help Us Solve Our Biggest Problems, (New York: Basic Books), is scheduled for publication in Fall 2022.

He leads programs addressing the underrepresentation of minorities in science. He aids underserved youth in Greensboro via the YMCA chess program. He has also served on the Racial Reconciliation and Justice Commission and COVID Vaccination Task Force of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. He also serves as the science advisor to the Chicago, New Brunswick, and Methodist of Ohio Theological Seminaries through the AAAS Dialogues of Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program.


Microaggressions in Academic Libraries

Date: Wednesday, June 8th

The term “microaggression” was coined to identify subtle occurrences of racism couched in casual comments directed at people of color. At the end of the webinar, participants will be able to:


Jaena Alabi is a Research and Instruction Librarian for the areas of English, psychological sciences, and African American and Africana Studies, as well as coordinator of the RBD Help Desk at Auburn University’s Ralph Brown Draughon Library.  Before joining Auburn University, she served as the English librarian at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.  In addition to her MLIS, Jaena also holds a Master of Arts in English, both from the University of Alabama.  Her research focuses on the effects of racial microaggressions on the library profession.