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IDEA in Collections Principles & Pathways

In early 2021, as a direct response to the socio-political climate in the United States, UConn Library staff formed a working group to investigate how their work in collections could better reflect and realize the values of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA). Under the aegis of the UConn Library’s values and strategic framework, the Working Group collaborated to ensure that the Library’s policies and practices foster IDEA in the collections that staff build and steward. With representation across campuses and various library units, the IDEA in Collections Working Group crafted guiding principles that will help shape future collecting activities; access to and discovery of library collections; collections-related policies and practices; and engagement with faculty, students, researchers, donors, and other stakeholders. This session will walk through our grassroots process for creating the definitions, principles, and pathways for realizing the principles of IDEA in UConn Library Collections work. It will describe our stakeholder engagement work, including hosting semi-structured conversations with the many library units that do collections or collections-adjacent work, the Working Group’s use of tools like Google Jamboard to help identify themes that emerged from those conversations, and how stakeholder feedback informed our final report and recommendations. We will also share recommended pathways for implementing the guiding principles in all areas of collections work. Attendees will come away from this session with concrete ideas and practices for leading similar IDEA in Collections initiatives at their own institutions, including locating potential collaborators, crafting shared understanding, engaging with stakeholders, and soliciting feedback. We will also share the lessons we learned, ways to improve on our process, and our next steps.