MHLS EDI Mini-Conference

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Date & Time

October 07, 2022
9:30 am - 3:30 pm


This free online event will highlight trends and best practices in creating more inclusive and more equitable library spaces through keynotes from recognized leaders in EDI initiatives as well as panel discussions of practitioners from local MHLS member libraries.

Please register for each session you would like to attend.

Morning Session 9:30 am – 12:15 pm | REGISTER

This morning session is designed for library board members, directors, and administrators, but all are welcome to attend.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Freddimir García, Co-Founder & Program Advisor for The Board Institute, Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress

Freddimir García is the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer for the Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS® (HGAR), a not-for-profit trade association representing over 13,000 real estate professionals doing business in The Bronx, Manhattan, Orange, Putnam, Rockland & Westchester Counties. It is the second largest REALTOR® Association in New York, and one of the largest in the country. In this newly created role, Freddy leads the Association’s efforts in developing and executing HGAR’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

An active member of the community, Freddy is currently serving on various boards across the region including Family Services, Inc., RUPCO, Inc., Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, and Rhinebeck Bank. He also works with various organizations in the Hudson Valley on the development, understanding, and implementation of DEI strategies to help create environments of inclusion and accountability. He is also the co-founder and Program Advisor of The Board Institute designed to diversify boards across the Hudson Valley by equipping people of color with the knowledge, support, and tools to serve.

He is a two-time Marist College graduate with a Masters in Business Administration and holds a Diversity & Inclusion Certificate from Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Topic: Inclusive Leadership | Unmanaged Bias Limits Leadership 

We will be taking an excursion to understand the practical practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion while also identifying the key elements of an inclusive leader as a board member. We will challenge ourselves to also recognize the power of our minds and together, discover the functions and impacts of bias in our approach to governance decisions and board recruitment.

PANEL DISCUSSION: Members of the Mid-Hudson Library System Board of Trustees EDI Working Group will share their experiences and resources developed over the last two years. Facilitated by MHLS Executive Director Rebekkah Smith Aldrich.

Afternoon Session 12:45 pm – 3:30 pm | REGISTER

This afternoon session is designed for library staff and directors, but all are welcome to attend.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Maria Estrella, Founder of Young Diverse Readers

Maria F. Estrella (she/her/hers/ella) earned a Master of Communication and Information in Library and Information Science from Kent State University, two Bachelors of Arts and Sciences in Social Work and Spanish from Cleveland State University and received Diversity and Inclusion certification from Cornell University. She also holds two decades of library experience working in a five-star rated urban-research library system, including eight years working as a Children’s/Teen Librarian and a Youth Services Subject Department Librarian. Maria similarly has thirteen years of significant knowledge advocating, promoting, and providing services to youth and caregivers. She served on national committees, juries, and task forces, whose primary goal is to provide diverse literacy and technological resources/services to enhance the lives of young readers and encourage them to become life-long scholars.

Maria is actively a REFORMA (National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking) Executive Board Member, the Children, and Young Adults Services Committee Chair, and a REFORMA liaison to the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). Maria was honored with the 2021 REFORMA Dr. Arnulfo D. Trejo Librarian of the Year Award and was recognized as a 100+ Latinos Cleveland Must Know, 2021 Edition. She will begin her 2022-2025 term as an American Library Association Councilor-at-Large as well as a Board Member of the Association of Library Services for Children.

Topic: Flourishing Institutions: Best Practices for Inclusive and Equitable Library Spaces

It’s crucial for libraries to successfully foster and continue a culture where diversity, equity, and inclusion (EDI) are at the center of every library initiative. During this presentation, attendees will be introduced to basic EDI concepts, theories, and terminology key for establishing and continuing inclusive and equitable library spaces.

PANEL DISCUSSION: Representatives from three member libraries will talk about their experiences in implementing practices and programs at the local level to help engage their communities in conversations around diversity and employing hiring practices to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment.


Certificates of attendance will be sent to participants after the event.

Questions? Please contact MHLS Outreach & EDI Specialist, Kerstin Cruger.


There is no location info available for this event.

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