In this lightning talk, I will share the findings of a qualitative research study that sought to understand what actions leaders in academic libraries have taken over the past 5 years to implement the commitments made in their statements on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). I conducted interviews with library coordinators of DEI initiates (typically committee chairs) at seven institutions of varying sizes, including both public and private universities, to uncover the types of work that were implemented, how projects were managed and supported, and what barriers library workers faced both internally or externally to the library when engaged in the work. Findings indicate that libraries have provided professional development opportunities for library workers, hosted or partnered to hold DEI-relevant events, curated resources, and worked to improve HR practices. Leaders or coordinators of DEI initiatives often expressed a deep and personal commitment to their work, but most felt under-equipped and under-supported in leading library efforts. In addition, the scope and impact of a library's DEI work was seen to be deeply connected to the level of support (financially and philosophically) granted by library and campus administrators. The results of this study provide an opportunity to library leaders to reflect on the work structures that they design to execute DEI work in their organizations, allocate resources more effectively, and consider ways to recognize the systematic and complex nature of anti-oppressive work in academic libraries.
Type of Library
Academic libraries, diversity committees, diversity statements, organizational structures, resource allocation
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Words and actions: implementing DEI work in libraries