The Heights Libraries Anti-Racism Task Force has engaged the services of Compass Consulting Services, LLC, to conduct confidential virtual focus groups as part of a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) audit for the organization.
Due to COVID-19, the confidential focus groups will be held via Zoom, not in person as had originally been planned.
The Library’s goal is to gather information from not just current library customers who feel positively about the organization, but also from those who don’t use the library, or who do use the library but who may have had frustrating experiences with the institution.
“If we really want to ensure we are serving our community fairly and equitably, we first need to understand what people’s experience with us has been like,” said Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “We want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly.”
In addition to sessions with our Black/African-American community members, Compass Consulting is seeking participants in the following focus groups.
Each group is limited in size, so participants are asked to register by using one of the links listed below that pertains to the one group they would like to participate in. Representatives from Compass Consulting will then contact participants with further information and instructions.
Specific Populations (six groups)
- Refugee Service Community: August 18, 2-3:30 p.m.
- Orthodox Jewish Citizens and Community Leaders: August 18, 6:30-8 p.m.
- Homeless: August 19, 2-3:30 p.m.
- LGBTQ+: August 19, 6:30-8 p.m.
- Hearing Impaired: August 21, 1-2:30 p.m.
Retired Seniors Citizens/Customers (please choose the branch you use the most)
August 24, 2-3:30 p.m. – Coventry
August 25, 2-3:30 p.m. – Lee Road
August 26, 2-3:30 p.m. – Noble
August 27, 2-3:30 p.m. – University Heights
General Adult Customers (please choose the branch you use the most)
August 24, 6:30-8 p.m. – Coventry
August 25, 6:30-8 p.m. – Lee Road
August 26, 6:30-8 p.m. – Noble
August 27, 6:30-8 p.m. – University Heights
The focus groups are just the latest steps Heights Libraries is taking to ensure that their practices, policies, and culture are inclusive of all of its stakeholders, both staff and customers.
The Library formed its Anti-Racism Taskforce in fall 2018 in response to concerns about equity and inclusion, and one of its first actions was to engage all staff members in meaningful, comprehensive DEI training. Non-management participated in a three-hour training by the national Racial Equity Institute and managers attended an intensive two-day training retreat by the same organization.
After the trainings, management decided to conduct both internal and external DEI audits, and hired local nonprofit Compass Consulting Services, LLC, to conduct the audits. Both the trainings and the work with Compass Consulting took place in 2019 and early 2020, before the COVID-19 outbreak and the Library’s subsequent budget cuts.