Improving Ourselves and Improving Services: Reducing Implicit Bias in Reference Interviews.

When:  Oct 4, 2019 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (PT)
Associated with  Sierra Nevada

Improving Ourselves and Improving Services: Reducing Implicit Bias in Reference Interviews, Literature Searching, and Ourselves

Bias affects everything we do, but unconscious bias can have serious detrimental effects on the work that Librarians perform and their interactions with the communities they serve. We offer our experiences and research as a starting point for an interactive workshop, which explores tools that librarians can use to recognize and address unconscious bias ourselves, in scholarly research, and in the library systems we use to retrieve information. As Health Sciences Librarians, we utilize our experiences with the Health Sciences literature and health care systems to explore how librarians can address unconscious bias in their work.

Unconscious, or implicit, bias in medical research and care has been well documented—black patients on average receive less pain medication; heart attacks are underdiagnosed in women; and anyone who isn't a white male is underrepresented in clinical trials. This bias has important consequences. Our experience as medical librarians led us to develop this workshop that addresses what we can do as librarians to mitigate the effects of bias in literature searches, reference interviews, and our interactions with the communities we serve. While this program will focus on health sciences materials, we invite librarians from all subject specialties to join this workshop. This class uses interactive activities to highlight how implicit bias affects the health of historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in the United States and connect racial health disparities to implicit bias in health information. Health information and resources will be examined and explored in this active learning program, and participants will explore and gain knowledge of various resources to help them provide their users with health information tailored to meet the needs of the diverse communities they serve. At the end of the session, participants will be equipped to consider how their biases and the biases in information affect the communities they serve and develop techniques to address implicit bias in reference interviews including how to craft research questions and search queries.

If you are interested in attending this insightful workshop, please complete the online registration form.

Registration fee to be paid by check or exact cash amount at door:
$25 for SLA Members/students/retirees

$40 for Non-SLA Members
Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you at the October 4th Implicit Bias workshop.

Location and Parking information:
The Shields Library is located in the heart of the UC Davis campus near the Quad and the Memorial Union.  
Parking is available for $10/day. The nearest parking lot is Visitor Parking Lot 5 (VP5).

Parking map and interactive campus map for VP5 @

About the Presenters

Rachel Keiko Stark, MS, AHIP, is an ALA Spectrum Scholar (2010-2011), a MLA Rising Star (2017-2018) and the Health Sciences Librarian at Sacramento State University. She has previously worked at Kaiser Permanente as a Library Manager and as a Medical Librarian, at University of the Pacific as the Health Sciences Librarian, and, very briefly, as a Youth Services Librarian for the Sacramento Public Libraries. Rachel enjoys collaborative research with people across the United States and from multiple disciplines. She is a devoted dog mom and an avid gamer.

Mary-Kate Finnegan has served as the Health Sciences Librarian for the University of the Pacific since 2017. She is based at the Stockton, California campus but also serves the students enrolled in health sciences programs at the San Francisco and Sacramento campuses. Before this role, Mary-Kate worked for over a decade in the private sector after earning her BS in business with a concentration in accounting from the University of the Pacific and is thrilled to be “home again” after recently completing her MLIS from San Jose State University. Mary-Kate is interested in exploring how to incorporate evidenced-based learning as a research tool for other academic disciplines and enjoys participating in outreach opportunities.


University of California Davis, Shields Library, Room 205
One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616
Davis, CA 95616