Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Update, August 2022

Posted: Thu, Aug 25th 2022

Tisch Library adopted a two-year Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice Action plan in the summer of 2021. The following updates are highlights from our second semester of implementation: 

1. Center the experiences of underrepresented and marginalized communities. 

The User Experience & Student Success department hired and onboarded two Student Success Librarians during the spring semester to provide support to the DSDI Centers. They have had in-depth conversations with DSDI staff and students centered on the work that DSDI is currently undertaking, how they see their roles on campus, and developing an understanding of what Tisch Library can offer. One early result of this outreach is the piloting of Tisch 224 (the Research Hub) as a Library space specifically designated for historically underrepresented students. The DSDI Centers will help us to develop the space and work with us to better understand how to provide services to our underrepresented users. 

A team of librarians used a tool called SiteImprove to identify and categorize accessibility errors on the Tisch Library website and worked to address these errors. As of June 2022, the Tisch Library website has an accessibility score that ranges from 91.7 to 92.3/100, which is above the industry benchmark listed for education of 84.2/100. 

2. Enhance the diversification of Tisch Library’s physical and digital collections. 

 Librarians worked on several projects to increase the diversity of library collections through the purchase of new materials:  

  • A student-run exhibit on resistance to settler colonialism through music created in the Music Library 

  • A pop-up exhibit on cookbooks by American immigrant female chefs 

  • Winners of book awards for indigenous books 

  • Biographies & memoirs of scientists from underrepresented backgrounds  

About 50% of these titles were sourced from black-owned, local and/or independent bookstores.  

3. Foster understanding and awareness among staff of structural inequalities in library systems and culture. 

All Tisch Library employees had at least one diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice-focused goal as part of their individual performance goals for fiscal year 2022. Goals were aligned with the library’s two-year plan or focused on individual learning and development. 

Forty library staff completed an Essentials of Cultural Competence course offered by D’Etta Jones & Associates. Participants applied concepts related to equity, diversity, and inclusion at the individual level and in a workplace setting, practiced techniques that promote culturally competent behaviors across the organization, and developed personal action plans. 

4. Create and cultivate inclusive learning environments. 

Collections & Liaison Services librarians focused on building capacity around inclusive pedagogy by a series of learning engagements. The department read & discussed Paolo Freire's classic: "Pedagogy of the Oppressed," an article on learner focused inclusive instruction, peer reviewed select lesson plans, and reflected on take-aways from "How to be an Anti-Racist STEM Educator."  

The Open Educational Resources (OER) Steering Committee focused on raising awareness and information gathering about the use & perceptions of OER on campus. Accomplishments include: a faculty listening tour about faculty's use of course materials and awareness of OER; two OER Awards to faculty & instructors for the 2021-2022 awards program; and a syllabus affordability review & DEIJ review service in response to needs raised by faculty members. 

5. Enhance staff diversity through recruitment, retention, and advancement. 

Staff developed a checklist for hiring managers in order to ensure equitable candidate support throughout the hiring process. Many staff completed HR workshops on implicit bias in hiring as part of their DEIJ goals.