RWU Library Statement of Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Roger Williams University Libraries are committed to disrupting racism, hate and bias whenever and wherever we encounter it and to creating the most inclusive and diverse environment that we possibly can. We reject the actions and messages of racism and embrace the actions of anti-racism. As library employees, we are committed to using our privilege to speak out against these issues and ask to be held accountable by our students, faculty, and staff.
While the library is a place for everyone, we will not allow acts of intolerance or 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, inclusion, and accessibility, particularly aligned with the university’s Equity Action Plan.
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 Promising Practices that 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. The library has and continues to increase the purchase of books by diverse authors, collaborate with other departments on campus to facilitate or fund programming focused on diversity through discussion and speakers, and by the allocation of the All-Gender bathrooms located on the 3rd floor of the library provide safe, secure and comfortable alternatives for a variety of users on campus.
However, we recognize that information is not neutral, and that our profession has historically done harm to our students, faculty, and staff of marginalized and underrepresented identities by not acknowledging the implicit biases perpetuated in the cataloging, collection development, information retrieval and evaluation processes, customer services, and hiring practices.
It is only through our collective action and vision for a better future that substantive change will be realized, and to that end, we commit to the following:
Providing students in our instruction sessions with context and actional steps on how information creation, retrieval, and evaluation has historically been biased and exclusive of diverse voices and how to disrupt these systems
Reviewing and updating our collection management processes to diversify our print and digital collections to better reflect scholars and authors of color
Addressing DEI issues in our strategic planning, work plans, and individual goals
Committing funds and time to staff development and training on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion
Welcoming, actively listening to, and committing to acting on feedback and suggestions from our students, faculty, and staff of color and other marginalized groups
Initiating a dialogue with the Student Senate and Registrar to add identifiers in Roger Central that denote sections that have no-cost learning materials
Increasing representation of marginalized voices and issues in the library’s public programming and exhibits
Aligning and actively reassessing our efforts to stay relevant with the university’s Equity Action Plan
We welcome input and ideas from the communities we support and with whom we partner. We strive to engage in conversations and dialogue to advance issues around DEI/anti-racism. We respect and listen to underrepresented and marginalized voices. We encourage suggestions and feedback to be submitted to the Dean of University Libraries, Elizabeth Peck Learned at firstname.lastname@example.org
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. We are committed to holding ourselves accountable by annually reviewing and updating our action plan, reporting our progress regularly to the Provost, and incorporating relevant DEI responsibilities into library staff job descriptions.