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Prioritizing Supplier Diversity

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Prioritizing Supplier Diversity

Cleveland Public Library

Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion | 2021 | Honorable Mention

Innovation Summary

Cleveland Public Library’s mission to be a diverse and inclusive organization extends not only to its staff, patrons and community members, but also to its suppliers. To enact meaningful change, Cleveland Public Library established a Supplier Diversity Council to identify, engage and hire minority-owned and otherwise underrepresented businesses.

Problem Statement

“When you look at the population of Cleveland, our business partnerships should mirror that population,” says Chief Equity, Education & Engagement Officer Dr. Sadie Winlock, who has been instrumental in evaluating the Library’s diversity and inclusion landscape. “The Supplier Diversity Council is part of the bigger picture surrounding the Library’s desire to be inclusive internally and externally across all layers.”


The Supplier Diversity Council includes both internal and external stakeholders who identify local underrepresented vendors, to engage diverse suppliers, and, in some cases, encourage partnerships between major organizations and minority-owned companies. The library has set goals to ensure diversity. Any procurement or supplier contract of $10,000 or less, for example, will automatically go to a minority-owned company. Larger contracts will undergo a bidding process that includes at least one minority-owned business.


“This is an opportunity for Cleveland Public Library to be a trendsetter among public libraries and to make sure we’re impacting the community,” says Twyla Turner, Director of Inclusion and Leadership Development. “We’re making an honest, intentional effort to do more business with the people in our community and provide equitable opportunities. If we say we’re The People’s University, then we need to provide the opportunities for people to give back to the communities where Clevelanders live and work and thrive.”