University Libraries Civility Statement and Guidelines

Within the University Libraries, civility comprises a conscious demonstration of mutual respect – for people, for their roles, for their knowledge and expertise. Civility requires cooperation, mindfulness, kindness, engagement, tolerance, inclusiveness, and acceptance and promotion of individual differences.  It is expressed not only in the words we choose, but in our tone, demeanor, and actions. All members of the University Libraries community are responsible for, and expected to, exemplify and promote civility.

The University Libraries community is committed to civil behavior but we encourage members to go beyond civility—to inspire each other, and be a compassionate and caring community. Our goal is to heighten our level of compassion, enhance our level of empathy, and encourage positive affirmation.

The University Libraries is also committed to creating and maintaining a positive and respectful learning and working environment. While it is understood that disagreement will, and should, occur in a collegiate setting, open communication, intellectual integrity, mutual respect for differing viewpoints, freedom from unnecessary disruption and a climate of civility are important values that we embrace. We encourage the selection of mindful words, meaningful listening and a search for understanding and thoughtful solutions.  

Examples of civility include:

  • Respect and courtesy in language, demeanor, and actions, be a positive influence
  • Respectful acknowledgement and positive promotion of individual differences
  • Being empathetic and patient
  • Refraining from insulting, disrespectful, dismissive, or humiliating language and/or actions

All employees deserve to be treated with dignity and respect at their place of work. They deserve to work in an environment free from incivility, harassment, or bullying. Actions must be evaluated not only in light of what the actor intended, but also by what the recipient felt, i.e., impact as well as intent is important.

The University Libraries management is ultimately responsible for creating a positive work climate, and will deal with civility concerns in a timely manner, if you believe you have been treated inappropriately.

What to do about Uncivil Treatment

Each University Libraries employee and community member is expected to treat others with civility and respect. If you feel that you have been treated in a manner that is inconsistent with these expectations, you have several options:

  • Approach the other person and share your feelings about what happened. Think about this: What would you want a coworker to do if they were offended by something you said or did? Often making the other person aware of how his conduct affected you is sufficient. Few people are deliberately hurtful.
  • Discuss the matter with your supervisor. Your supervisor may be able to advise you, make suggestions, or if necessary, intervene.
  • If you feel you cannot discuss it with your immediate supervisor, it may be appropriate to escalate your concern through your management chain.
  • Consult Libraries Human Resources. LHR can provide advice and help facilitate a solution.
  • If you are a faculty member, speak to your Ombudsperson. For staff, Libraries HR fulfills the role of Ombudsperson.
  • If your concern can’t be resolved within the Libraries, you can contact the Employee Relations Division of the University’s Office of Human Resources for help.

Any indication of retaliation for concerns about civil and respectful treatment that are raised in good faith will not be tolerated and will be investigated by the Libraries Administration.