A Look Back As We Move Forward
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Virtual on ZoomREGISTER HERE
a Zoom link will be emailed to you separately
Join us for a Conversation with our Featured Speaker
Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director
American Library Association
Tracie Hall is no stranger to libraries, or to ALA. Over the years, she has worked at the Seattle Public Library, the New Haven Free Library, Queens Public Library and Hartford Free Public Library. In 1998, she was among the first cohort of ALA’s Spectrum Scholars, a grant program to diversify librarianship, and she served as the director of ALA’s Office for Diversity in the early 2000s. Hall is the 10th executive director and the first female African-American executive director in ALA’s history.
Opening Remarks & Moderator
Keith Stokes, Vice President,1696 Heritage Group
Keith Stokes has a long and distinguished career in business and community development. His past professional positions have included Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and Executive Director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Stokes is a frequent lecturer with an expertise in early African and Jewish American history. Stokes frequently appears on national historical programs including C-SPAN, Fox News Legends & Lies, and Ted Talks.
Karen Mellor, Chief of Library Services
State of Rhode Island, Office of Library & Information Services
Karen Mellor began her career at OLIS in 1999 as a Library Program Specialist. Throughout her time at OLIS, she has worked to construct both physical and virtual libraries. She is especially interested in integrating emerging technologies with traditional library services to develop local libraries as critical community centers for learning and discovery.
What do we do?
Provide a forum that encourages the exchange of ideas and the discussion of issues, problems and concerns of librarians and library staff of color; Mentor librarians and library staff of color and encouraging librarianship as a profession to people of color; Promote the development and delivery of multi-cultural collections, services and programs; Foster outreach into the community across cultures and languages; Promote professional and educational activities; Engage in charitable and social activities; and Collaborate with other organizations to achieve similar goals.
The initiative to start CORNUCOPIA began in the summer of 2004 when Ida D. McGhee, who had recently retired from Hartford Public Library (CT) and relocated to RI, approached Dr. Michael Havener, former director, URI Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, with a proposal that would encourage people of color to consider librarianship as a career and support for those already in the profession. Ida had been an active member of the Connecticut chapter of the Black Caucus of ALA and Northeast Reforma, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and Spanish Speakers and wanted to continue that experience in Rhode Island. In turn, Dr. Havener contacted URI Professor, Dr. Donna Gilton and Dr. Gilton enlisted Denise Dowdell, a former librarian and now tribal judge for the Narraganset Indian Tribe. The four of them created CORI.
The first official CORI meeting took place in September 2005 at the University Club on the URI campus, in Kingston.
The following year, Ida invited Dr. Carla Hayden, who is now the Librarian of Congress and former CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, and who was the fourth black president of ALA to speak at the annual RILA conference on behalf of CORI. CORI has continued to present at the annual RILA conferences.
The group’s emphasis has, and always will be, on multi-culturalism. CORI strives to network with a broader community to help make the library profession visible, with an emphasis on addressing the issue of bringing multi-culturalism to the forefront and encouraging people of color to consider librarianship as a profession, as well as educating the general public. We encourage people of all colors to join CORI and share the message of diversity to the library community.
On January 1, 2019, CORI officially became a section of the Rhode Island Library Association.
* Juliann Cerrito, President
* VACANT, Vice President
* Ida McGhee, Secretary
* Maria Cotto, Blog/Facebook Master
* Dhana Whiteing, Photographer
To learn more about the CORI visit our blog or