Penn State University Libraries is committed to disrupting racism, hate, and bias whenever and wherever we encounter it and to creating the most inclusive and diverse community that we possibly can. We reject the actions and messages of racism and embrace the message of anti-racism.
While we are a place for everyone, we will not allow acts of intolerance and hate to diminish the rights and safety of others who visit our spaces and use our resources and services. It is time for us to do more in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
We are committed to acting now and encouraging employees at all levels of our organization to continue to bring forth ideas and suggestions to further our goals and commitment. We applaud the many initiatives faculty and staff have already introduced to promote discussion, learning, and action to help all of us understand and address racism and white supremacy/privilege, such as book groups, communities of practice, discussion sessions, and so on. It is only through our collective action and vision for a better future that substantive change will be realized.
To that end, we commit to the following:
- Recruitment: Recruit more Black/African Americans and people from diverse and underrepresented groups for standing positions;
- Retention: Prioritize retention and advancement of minorities and underrepresented library personnel. Establish a supportive network of peers to help underrepresented employees and people of color navigate and overcome any challenges;
- Training and performance evaluation: Provide more racial and cultural equity learning and training opportunities for all employees. Employees are expected to articulate plans and efforts that contribute to University, Libraries, and unit DEIA goals in their annual performance goal-setting;
- Discussion forums: Hold discussion forums on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) where participants can freely express their ideas and concerns. Organize them through the Dean's office, the Diversity Committee, and other venues. Facilitate dialogue around racism and bias with World in Conversation or another similar organization;
- Collections: Increase diversity in our collections, particularly resources for African/African American studies for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Reverse effects of inequity by enriching our collections in areas related to underrepresented groups;
- Research support: Strive to support all researchers’ needs, particularly of people of color and people with disabilities;
- Instructional support: Develop and teach classes and workshops in a flexible, inclusive and welcoming manner for all library users. Openly and proactively share library services, resources, and expertise. Improve accessibility of learning spaces and our website, following the principles of universal design;
- Strategic planning: Incorporate equity and justice initiatives into the Libraries Strategic and Action plans. Review the recommendations proposed by the Diversity Committee and others, and incorporate those ideas into strategic plans as appropriate. Encourage also equity and justice in our library spaces and take reparative action to provide support for underrepresented groups;
- Technological solutions and enhancements: Create a task force to implement the recommendations in the Diversity in Our Web Presence Task Force Report. Replace demeaning terminology in the Library of Congress Subject Headings within cataloging guidelines. Establish an IT Internship program for underrepresented groups and find a way to transition the interns to entry-level IT positions;
- Financial equity: Commit to provide financial resources to support DEIA efforts;
- Assessment: Assess our services, programs, collections, and technology through the lens of social justice. Reach out and engage with marginalized groups who are underserved and underrepresented in the Libraries. Listen broadly and bring up minority or silent voices to advance DEIA; and
- Promoting diversity and inclusion in librarianship: Proactively push for change in our profession at the national level on policies, procedures, and longstanding practices.
We welcome input and ideas from the communities we support and with whom we partner. We respect and listen to underrepresented voices. We encourage suggestions to be submitted to UL-DEANS-OFFICE@lists.psu.edu.
We are aware this is just the beginning of our efforts and remain committed to updating our action items to enact the change we wish to see in the Libraries.
July 8, 2020