Beyond Barriers Conference Focuses on Equity in Information

The Wayne State School of Information Sciences' inaugural Beyond Barriers: Conversations on Equity in Information Conference took place on Thursday, April 4th, 2024, and was a great success! Current SIS students, SIS alumni, SIS faculty and staff, youth librarians, school library media specialists, and more were in attendance at the fully virtual mini conference. Presenters included SIS students Jillian Beckwell and Lily Wiest, guest authors Melissa Mimi Olson and Desiree Cooper, and a panel with journal editors Sarah Park Dahlen and Sonia Alejandra Rodríguez, with the School of Information Sciences' own Kafi Kumasi moderating. 

All of this was put together thanks to our DEI Programming Committee: Amber Case (Academic Services Officer, DEIA Coordinator, and committee chair), Mike Dutkewych (Academic Services Officer), Allia McCoy (Social Justice Librarian), Tori Robinson (SIS DEI Graduate Student Assistant), with special thanks to Kafi Kumasi (Professor).

There were so many wonderful conversations and special moments shared throughout the event, allowing us to pause and dig deeper into the importance of representation, acceptance, and inclusion in youth literature. All of our guest speakers did a phenomenal job demonstrating what that work looks like, and how much joy it brings them in producing and sharing their work. From performing critical research in the field of youth literature to authoring personal, heartfelt stories, we navigated the ins and outs of how we all can support the role diverse youth literature serves in the community. To everyone involved (speakers, attendees, and organizers), thank you for joining us and creating this beautiful space to share and grow with each other.

We are pleased to announce that the Beyond Barriers Conference will be held again next winter, with a new topic that centers diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the greater library and information sciences field. Please stay tuned for future DEIA-centered programming from the School of Information Sciences. Suggestions for future events and collaborations can be shared with Amber Case at

Watch a recording of the conference on YouTube!


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