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Our approach to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility

Inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility are the guiding principles for every aspect of work in the University Libraries. As individuals, and as a whole, we commit to actions that reject racism and advance social justice. We must be anti-racist, foster diversity and equity, and ensure inclusion and belonging.

Definitions

The University Libraries recognizes the following definitions to describe inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in this statement:

  • Inclusion is the intentional creation of spaces and services with diversity in mind, to enable all individuals to succeed and thrive.
  • Diversity is the differences inherent in individuals. This includes, but is not limited to, ability (cognitive and physical), age, cultural background and values, ethnicity, gender, language, nation of origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and the intersectionalities therein.
  • Equity is social justice, and the fair treatment of individuals, based on their individual and diverse needs, viewed through the lens of historical power structures and social norms.
  • Accessibility is building equitable access to our collections, services, and spaces for all library users, and accommodations where accessibility isn’t possible.

Importance

Inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility are values we hold deeply at the Libraries. Yet we acknowledge that simply believing in these values is not enough to create change. It is only through our collective action toward a shared vision for a better future that substantive change will be realized.

We understand there are barriers to success for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and marginalized groups within the University and beyond. Additionally, libraries in general, as well as the University Libraries, have had a role in the creation and perpetuation of these barriers.

To create the change we want to see, we need an ongoing process for direct action and critical reflection on our own shortcomings.

Aspirations

  • Create a powerful learning community, a welcoming space where all patrons can access the information necessary to achieve their personal and professional goals.
  • Actively reject acts of intolerance and hate. Preserve the rights and safety of those who visit and work in our spaces, and use our resources and services.
  • Identify and combat the ways systems of oppression manifest throughout libraries, librarianship, and the systems therein.

Commitments

  • We commit to the intentional creation of spaces and services, both in-person and online, with inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in mind.
  • We commit to having material in our collections that embody greater representation.
  • We commit to fostering a more diverse workforce by re-examining and changing our recruitment, hiring, training, and staff development practices.
  • We commit to being transparent about, supporting, and making visible, the inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility work that happens within the Libraries.
  • We commit to listening to, and taking guidance from, the BIPOC and marginalized groups in our broader communities (our Libraries, all libraries, the University, the Twin Cities, and the state of Minnesota) to create a space for learning that is safe physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

Feedback

Jennie Burroughs (jburroug@umn.edu)
Interim Associate University Librarian for Research & Learning

Statement written by the University Libraries’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Committee

Statement approved by University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, Lisa German, on February 1, 2021