Randall Library has a responsibility to address systemic racism and make positive changes in the culture at UNCW. Libraries can be intimidating places for students; we often hear students say they are afraid to ask a question or approach a staff member. How much more intimidating are we to students who don’t see themselves represented in our staff or our collections or who feel unwelcomed in our spaces? Those of us in the U.S. demographic majority (who are white, straight, cisgender) take for granted ingrained cultural systems that reflect a historically dominant perspective and experience; we are often oblivious to what our colleagues and students of color and other marginalized groups face routinely in the library and on campus. We have to look inward at our own biases and look outward, opening our minds to recognize the experiences of others if we are to address racism and make positive change.
One of our first efforts was to create a comprehensive plan (PDF), which will evolve as we listen and learn from our users. In brief, the plan includes:
To identify and address diversity, equity, and inclusion (or DEI) issues affecting our under-represented students, faculty, and staff by incorporating DEI initiatives and strategies into all library operations and services to ensure that Randall Library is equitably meeting the needs of all its users.
To become a campus-wide model for embedding and mandating DEI initiatives and strategies across all organizational levels for the betterment and inclusivity of all library stakeholders
Values and Goals
Randall Library is committed to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI. Being committed to DEI means we are committed to ensuring that our educational, social, and work environments are equitable, inclusive, supportive, and welcoming to all students, faculty, staff, and the broader University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) community. The goals for 2021-2023 are:
- At the end of each academic year, review Randall Library policies, procedures, and operations to ensure they meet the goals and objectives of this DEI Plan.
- Create opportunities and assessment measures for library employees to increase cultural competencies.
- Provide collaborative support for teaching and scholarship that advances equitable and inclusive pedagogical practices and facilitates open and equitable systems of scholarship.
- Build and maintain diverse and inclusive collections that are easily discoverable and accessible. Offer innovative services, programming, and community outreach that promotes the goals of DEI.
- Ensure Randall Library’s physical and virtual spaces are accessible, inclusive, welcoming, and safe for all users.
- Create and nurture a culture whereby the library is a destination workplace that values and advances diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice through recruitment, hiring, and retention best practices.
Our specific objectives for the 2021-2022 academic year are:
- Plan and complete a comprehensive “listening tour” of underrepresented UNCW students, faculty, and staff.
- Increase staff awareness of cultural values, diversity, inclusiveness, and the impact of personal bias in the work environment through educational training, development opportunities, and programming.
- Include diversity goals in the annual evaluation processes for all library staff and faculty and ensure that professional and/or personal development opportunities are promoted, encouraged, and available.
- Critically review subject guides, tutorials, videos, publications, etc. to identify implicit bias and determine ways in which the library’s commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment is demonstrated.
- Identify barriers to inclusivity in information literacy instruction; provide necessary training and development to address those weaknesses.
- Revise the library’s collection development policy to make more explicit the library’s commitment to building and maintaining collections that support DEI.
- Systematically review the library’s physical spaces and operations for accessibility and inclusivity to meet the needs of UNCW’s diverse community of learners.
- Create inclusive physical and virtual library environments by increasing the visibility of art, displays, exhibits, and collections that reflect and celebrate diverse voices, backgrounds, and perspectives.
- Using the recommendations from the “Faculty Search Committee Process Improvement Workgroup” and other best practices, to make necessary changes to the recruitment process in totality (position descriptions, search committee make up, position advertisement, interview questions, etc.).
See the full Randall Library DEI Plan (PDF).
We recognize this will be a long journey that will require commitment and perseverance, where, individually and collectively, we will experience challenges and setbacks and also inspiration and hope. We hope that our students, faculty, staff and community users will join us in our efforts. For more information or you would like to share your feedback, please contact Lucy Holman, Dean of the Library.