Meet Jody Gray, ALA’s new director at
the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, who took the helm on November 2.
Gray is no stranger to the issues of diversity and inclusion. Before joining the Association, she was diversity outreach librarian at University of Minnesota Libraries, where she helped bolster dialogue using training and curriculum, and facilitated staff development workshops.
Gray is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and has a bachelor’s in English from the University of Minnesota, Morris, and an MLS from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She has been a longtime member of the American Indian Library Association (AILA), an affiliate of ALA, and recently served as its executive director.
She took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions and introduce herself to ALA members.
Coffee, tea, other?
Coffee, tea, and other.
What’s the first website or app you check in the morning?
Gmail app on my phone.
Best career advice you’ve ever received?
It’s okay to take care of yourself. It is part of sustaining yourself in your work.
What drew you to librarianship?
I think I was always meant to be a librarian. When I was 4 or 5 I would “play librarian” in one of the back pews of the church our family went to, which meant gathering all the hymnals and “checking them out” to patrons. It was 20 years later that I discovered that it was an actual career option.
The small painting/portrait of my cat that was a gift from a close friend.
Most of my guilty pleasures are TV related: any crime/detective show, Psych, Supernatural, Grimm, @midnight, Bob’s Burgers.…
I got my first job in junior high. I worked at a drive-in fast food/ice cream place in my hometown of Eagle Butte, South Dakota.
What do you hope to bring to ALA and members?
I hope that I will be able to help people participate in those uncomfortable, but necessary, discussions about equity and diversity that are necessary for change in our profession and our society.
If you had to choose any other profession, what would it be and why?
Book you’re reading?
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel.
Tool used for keeping your life organized?
My Erin Condren planner.