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Syracuse University Libraries

Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Inclusion: Diversity for Library Staff

Research guide of SUL Diversity and Inclusion Team

Syracuse University Libraries Commitment

ALA Statement on Institutional Racism

June 26, 2020

The American Library Association (ALA) accepts and acknowledges its role in upholding unjust systems of racism and discrimination against Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) within the Association and the profession.

We recognize that the founding of our Association was not built on inclusion and equity but instead was built on systemic racism and discrimination in many forms. We also recognize the hurt and harm done to BIPOC library workers and communities due to these racist structures.

We commit to our core values, particularly equity, diversity, and inclusion, and will demonstrate this commitment by reassessing and reevaluating our role in continuing to uphold unjust, harmful systems throughout the Association and the profession. We will include ALA members, ALA staff, and the profession in our movement forward, and we are developing a plan toward becoming the inclusive association we aspire to be. Going forward we commit to the following:

• to engage in dialogue with our members to inform our path forward,

• to continue assessing our governance structure, such as through the Forward Together recommendations, and

• to address the disparities in access to information for BIPOC.

We take responsibility for our past and pledge to build a more equitable association and library community for future generations of library workers and supporters.


Statement from ALA President Patricia "Patty" M. Wong | July 8, 2021

Libraries Connect Us: Equity at the intersection of service

Library Resources

Librarians with Spines

"Librarians with Spines" is an anthology of 9 essays written by 11 radical librarians pushing the boundaries of social justice community service, library and information science, equitable bibliographic taxonomy, and ubiquitous information literacy.

Diversity Beyond Lip Service

The elephant in the room with diversity work is that people with privilege must use it to allow others equal access to power. This is often why diversity efforts falter--people believe in diversity until they feel that they have to give something up.

Pushing the Margins

Using intersectionality as a framework, this edited collection explores the experiences of women of color in library and information science (LIS). With roots in black feminism and critical race theory, intersectionality studies the ways in which multiple social and cultural identities impact individual experience.

Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries

 Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries: A Call to Action and Strategies for Success is arranged in three parts: Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter, Equipping the Library Staff, and Voices from the Field.

Teaching to Individual Differences in Science and Engineering Librarianship

Teaching to Individual Differences in Science and Engineering Librarianship: Adapting Library Instruction to Learning Styles and Personality Characteristics applies learning styles and personality characteristics to science and engineering library instruction.

Choosing to Lead

The stories offered here provide authentic and personal views, from highly diverse perspectives, about why one might pursue management or leadership positions in LIS, the challenges that people from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups face when they attempt to enter that landscape, and practical strategies for developing oneself to ensure success.

The Politics of Theory and the Practice of Critical Librarianship

This book features original research, reflective essays and conversations, and dialogues that consider the relationships between theory, practice, and critical librarianship through the lenses of the histories of librarianship and critical librarianship, intellectual and activist communities, professional practices, information literacy, and more.

Ethical Questions in Name Authority Control

Catalogers hold very specific types of power when they describe people, families, and corporate bodies. When creating a personal name authority record, for example, catalogers identify a few characteristics of the individual that distinguish them from others, while balancing their judgment with respect for the individual's self-concept and management of their public identity.

Toward a Critical-Inclusive Assessment Practice for Library Instruction

Using a Critical Theory framework, Toward a Critical-Inclusive Assessment Practice for Library Instruction offers academic librarians practical, and actionable, strategies for critical assessment of teaching and student learning. The authors share their experiences integrating critical assessment techniques into their information literacy curriculum. 

The Feminist Reference Desk

Feminist pedagogy employs strategies such as collaborative learning, valuing experiential knowledge, employing consciousness-raising about sexism and other forms of oppression, and destabilizing the power hierarchies of the traditional classroom. Ultimately, feminist library instruction seeks to empower learners to be both critical thinkers and critical actors.

Topographies of Whiteness

Exploring the diverse terrain that makes up library and information science (LIS), this collection features the work of scholars, practitioners, and others who draw from a variety of theoretical approaches to name, problematize, and ultimately fissure whiteness at work.

Where Are All the Librarians of Color?

This book offers a comprehensive look at the experiences of people of color after the recruitment is over, the diversity box is checked, and the statistics are reported. What are the retention, job satisfaction, and tenure experiences of librarians of color? The authors look at the history of librarians of color in academia, review of the literature, obstacles, roles, leadership, and the tenure process for those that endure. 

Queer Library Alliance

Queer identities are complex. They are embedded in a web of intersectionality and often challenging to fully define.  Promoting understanding and visibility are primary goals of this anthology. As library professionals that create, utilize, and make accessible systems of organization and classification for information, intersectionality must remain a clear objective in addressing these historical absences. 

Social Justice and Library Work

Although they may not have always been explicitly stated, library work has always had normative goals. Until recently, such goals have largely been abstract; they are things like knowledge creation, education, forwarding science, preserving history, supporting democracy, and safeguarding civilization. The modern spirit of social and cultural critique, however, has focused our attention on the concrete, material relationships that determine human potentiality and opportunity.

Information Activism

For decades, lesbian feminists across the United States and Canada have created information to build movements and survive in a world that doesn't want them. In Information Activism Cait McKinney traces how these women developed communication networks, databases, and digital archives that formed the foundation for their work.

SUL Climate survey

In 2017 the DIT surveyed all SU Libraries staff, including student workers, with a brief anonymous survey to help inform our planning process and future initiatives.  The results are summarized below.

SUL Diversity and Inclusion Team

Diversity and Inclusion Team (DIT) Current Membership:

Nicole Westerdahl, Chair (ncdittri@syr.edu)

Sarah Duncan (sdunca02@syr.edu)

Stephanie McReynolds (sjmcreyn@syr.edu)

Daniel Sarmiento (dlsarmie@syr.edu)

Charge:

The Syracuse University Libraries (SUL) Diversity and Inclusion Team (DIT) is charged with promoting the value of diversity and inclusion among Libraries staff, in alignment with the University’s diversity and inclusion mission. The team interprets “diversity” broadly, recognizing that it takes many forms, and acknowledging certain core elements that apply regardless of the particular identity or situation:  listening, respect, openness, and awareness. The team assists in identifying tools and resources that can better ensure that SUL’s programming, services, collections, spaces, staffing, and practices are inclusive, ultimately helping to foster a supportive and inclusive environment for our patrons and staff. We aim to ensure our talented staff and patrons are welcomed, retained, and continually encouraged to thrive.

Examples of tasks in which the team engage include, but are not limited to:

  • gathering readings and other resources for reference and discussion
  • identifying related resources of interest, including staff development resources, effective speakers or trainers, best practices, model institutions, or other related programs
  • holding trainings and other professional development opportunities on diversity and inclusion topics
  • supporting human resources to improve inclusion in recruitment, interviewing, and retention
  • communicating or planning with campus partners
  • supporting the writing of library policies (e.g., collection development) related to diversity and inclusion
  • liaising with library departments
  • serving as an advisory and support role for the Libraries on topics related to diversity and inclusion

Charge Review

Due to the changing nature of and opportunities for diversity and inclusion, the Diversity and Inclusion Team is advised to review this charge on a yearly basis.

Chair

The chair or co-chairs will be selected among the team members, although preference is given for the Outreach Librarian or Inclusion and Accessibility Librarian (or equivalent) to serve as chair. Chairs (or co-chairs) should serve for a maximum of 3 years before stepping down. The Outreach Librarian and/or Inclusion and Accessibility Librarian (or equivalents) may continue to serve on the team as an ex-officio member as needed.

Membership

Team membership is to be comprised of a maximum of seven individuals recruited from the entire library staff, including but not limited to administrators, librarians, supervisors, bargaining unit staff, and library-affiliated staff. Members do not need to have an MLIS or equivalent, but all members must have an expressed interest in and an active commitment towards promoting a more diverse and inclusive library.

Although membership is voluntary, the constituency should be reflective of the Libraries’ various departments and program areas as well as its values in diversity of thought and social identity.

Members will serve staggered, renewable 2-year terms, though members are encouraged to cycle off after 2-3 consecutive terms in order to allow for the inclusion of other interested staff members.

Administrative Liaison

Lisa Moeckel

Type of Group

Standing committee; operational/functional

Type of Reporting Preferred:

The team will communicate instructional needs, issues, and accomplishments with the Libraries Management Team throughout the year via email and/or presentations as appropriate as well as annual written reports.

SUL Diversity and Inclusion Team / SUL activities and information

April 2021:  SU Libraries publishes a statement on Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Inclusion.

October 2020: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Guide published

September 2020: The Diversity and Inclusion Team (DIT) reviewed the DEI inventory put together by Libraries administration as part of a campus-wide effort to review what the University is doing to advance DEIA efforts.

July - September 2020: Diversity & Inclusion Reopening Planning Team, which included members of the DIT, discussed issues directly relating to the reopening of Syracuse University for the fall semester.  Topics of discussion included potential accessibility issues due to service changes, and accommodations relating to mask wearing.

July 22, 2020:  DIT Presentation to All-Staff meeting, regarding potential discrimination relating to the Libraries' reopening during the pandemic

June 2020Resources for Racial Justice LibGuide published

June 18, 2020:  Dean Seaman - All-staff meeting presentation by Neal Powless, University OmBuds and member of the Onondaga Nation, about the Haudenosaunee, the indigenous people on whose ancestral lands Syracuse University now stands. 

June 18, 2020: DIT Presentation to the Library Management Team (LMT) on the past year and future goals.  Topics included hiring issues, communications, and a call to action.

June 4, 2020: Statement from the Dean and the Diversity and Inclusion Team published

Ongoing:  DIT involvement in recruitment and hiring including meeting with search committees

Ongoing:  SU Libraries/DIT support of #NotAgainSU student activism, including providing use of space, locations for signs and posters, archiving information, and support of individual students

Call Number: Podcast from ALA

Diversity and Inclusion in the SUL Strategic Plan

In the Syracuse University Libraries Strategic Plan 2018-2022, one of the four major themes is "One Library for One University."  The description of this area of focus is as follows:

Libraries are inclusive places, and our services and staff serve the whole campus and the surrounding community. We are working to ensure that our buildings, collections, and websites are as accessible as possible, and the success we have had in making our physical spaces comfortable, safe, and inviting, 24 hours a day, makes us a destination location for students and faculty on campus. This also gives us opportunities to use those busy spaces to show case campus excellence. New programs are also underway, including a strategic focus on promoting library use for veterans and military families, and to more fully support international students and our Syracuse University Abroad programs.

One of the goals included under "One Library for One University" is Goal 8: Enhance Diversity and Inclusion.  Objectives are as follows:

Objective 8.1: Be a strong contributor in a range of campus diversity and inclusion initiatives

Objective 8.2: Provide welcoming, accessible library spaces to the diverse groups we serve

Objective 8.3: Provide access to all of our library resources to the diverse groups we serve

Objective 8.4: Provide programs and training for Libraries staff to strengthen cultural competencies and awareness

Suggestions

Training Resources / articles

Resources offered for your consideration.

Articles

The journal "In the Library with the Lead Pipe" offers many thought-provoking and relevant articles on diversity in librarianship.  As of July 2020, the site is unfortunately not https-compliant, but with that caveat in mind, you may wish to look through recent issues, and search for articles such as:

Neurodiversity in the Library: One Librarian's Experience

The Quest for Diversity in Library Staffing

“White Librarianship in Blackface: Diversity Initiatives in LIS.”

American Library Association (ALA): Diversity Resources

This PDF contains links to committees, groups, task forces and blogs relating to diversity and inclusion in librarianship from:

American Library Association (ALA) ,

Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL),

Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC),

Association of Specialized, Government, and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA),

Library and Information Technology Association (LITA)/CORE,

Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA),

Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)

.Note that ​​​​​​as of July 2020, most of the links are not https-compliant.

Sources of Information for this LibGuide

Sources of information on articles, events, and community happenings reviewed for this Guide include:

Syracuse.com (menu  -> News  -> Syracuse University News)

Schools and Colleges:  School of ArchitectureCollege of Arts and SciencesSchool of Education, The College of Engineering and Computer ScienceThe David B. Falk College of Sport and Human DynamicsSchool of Information StudiesCollege of Law, Martin J. Whitman School of ManagementMaxwell School of Citizenship and Public AffairsS.I. Newhouse School of Public CommunicationsThe College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA)University CollegeGraduate School    links go to the official news page for the school or college

SU Libraries' Pinterest site   for new books

Syracuse University News    all categories, including keyword searches of diversity, inclusion, and accessibility