Have you seen recent studies and articles on diversity in higher education? Here is a biggie from the US Department of Education: Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study. And we find there is still room for improvement here:
Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education.
Even more depressing, some disparities have worsened in recent decades:
Racial Disparities in Higher Education: an Overview. Also there is evidence that where there have been some gains with faculty diversity, it is in the insecure jobs, not the tenure track positions: More Faculty Diversity, Not on Tenure Track.
So, how can academic libraries help? One way is that we can be part of the support that helps to remedy any disparities with student achievement. See last month’s post, Academic Libraries Contribute to Student Success, for evidence of how we help with student achievement.
In addition, there are many relevant items from the American Library Association:
- Strategic Direction: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Implementation Plan
- Library Bill of Rights, especially Diversity in Collection Development and Equity, Diversity, Inclusion
- Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion resources, especially Bias in the Workplace and Civility & Diversity
- Diversity is one of five key action areas for ALA
- Core Values of Librarianship
A few more specific things to do . . .
1 – Understand and acknowledge the past, for example, read “Whose Table?”: On Libraries and Race.
4 – There are many suggestions here as well: ACRL Diversity Standards: Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries (2012)
5 – Participate in training options available to you. For example, we have a Minnesota State system-wide faculty development book group where we read and discussed the books Hillbilly Elegy and Enrique’s Journey.
6 – Keep looking for opportunities to transform the library to better serve everyone!
P.S. In case you needed more inspiration . . . there have been studies showing that we are smarter and more creative when we are in a diverse group and that diversity improves the way an organization operates . . .