Paradigm Reach Supports Kent District Library’s Ongoing Anti-Racism Work
About Kent District Library
Kent District Library (KDL) — a public library system that has grown to 20 branch libraries serving more than 40,000 residents in Kent County, Michigan — has committed itself to being an actively anti-racist organization.
A Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) Journey
As part of that ongoing mission, KDL’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) 20-member committee was tasked with choosing a training solution that would empower staff to continually educate themselves.
After evaluating 15 DEI solutions, the group tested three different offerings, and ultimately decided Paradigm Reach was the best fit for KDL.
“We really felt that Paradigm Reach was the most accessible solution for our organization,” said Shaunna Martz, Kent District Library EDI work group leader and Region Manager II. Martz values Reach’s intentional approach to creating ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion learning journeys, saying, “a one-day intensive training is great, but is it really going to sink in?”
As KDL began implementing training among their 360 employees, what they appreciated most was Reach’s self-paced, immersive learning. It has allowed their staff to go back and rewatch microlearnings so that information can fully sink in while also giving them the ability to learn new things every time they rewatch it.
Following each learning module, department managers lead discussions with staff, creating an open space to talk about new topics, especially those that are more difficult to grasp. It has also helped managers navigate discussions that are department or branch-specific, or talk about how the topic might impact the different communities KDL serves.
“We appreciate the way Paradigm approaches the courses, the microlearnings, and the research because it really allows for richer discussions than I think we could ever possibly pull together on our own,” said Patricia Reid, Kent District Library Training Manager. Employees have shared that the Reach training changed their perspectives, how they interact with patrons, and deepened their understanding of DEI themes related to race/ethnicity, intergenerational issues, and gender roles.