Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Update: February 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 first semester of implementation: 

1. Center the experiences of underrepresented and marginalized communities. 

Library staff began to conduct audits of the library’s physical and virtual spaces. The physical space project includes an audit of the library to make it both accessible and welcoming as well as an audit of the library stacks with an eye to improving their navigability. For virtual spaces, staff are conducting an accessibility audit of the Tisch Library website using SiteImprove to identify the accessibility errors on our site with the goal of moving towards compliance with the WCAG 2.1 Level AA standard for accessibility. 

Our recently hired Student Success librarians will support the work of the Tufts Identity-based Centers within Student Diversity & Inclusion, the International Center and the Tufts University Prison Initiative of the Tisch College of Civic Life (TUPIT). 

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

Librarians are working on several projects that increase the diversity of the collections through the purchase of new materials:  

  • A position for a student worker to help select and promote diverse titles in music. 

  • Identification of materials related to Indigenous Studies using award winners and crowd-sourced syllabi as a launching space. 

  • A project to add materials about STEM practice and practitioners by and about traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM.   

  • A proposal to purchase and exhibit books around female, immigrant chefs and their contributions to American cuisine.  

We seek to source these titles from Black-owned and/or independent bookstores where possible.  

The Metadata Services team has been working to review and implement changes in the Library of Congress Subject Headings for the term “illegal aliens.” The team is also in the process of identifying other problematic headings in the catalog and will propose appropriate changes to the Library of Congress. Tisch also adopted a Statement on potentially harmful language in our catalogs. If you encounter language in the Tufts JumboSearch or Tufts Digital Library catalog that you find harmful or offensive, we welcome your feedback.  

A Tisch-based working group is identifying ways to digitize more content created by historically marginalized voices. 

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

We are on track for all Tisch Library employees to have at least one diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice-focused goal as part of their individual performance goals this fiscal year. Goals are aligned with the library’s two-year plan or are focused on individual learning and development. 

4. Create and cultivate inclusive learning environments. 

Librarians are working to reframe the idea of instructional material to center instructional approaches around the lived experiences of diverse voices. Through focused readings and discussions of instructional approaches, our staff are working to apply theory to practice. This includes moving away from a deficit mindset towards an inclusive teaching model that centers the lived experience of students as integral to our pedagogical and collections approach. 

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

In alignment with the Arts and Sciences Diversity plan, all open staff positions have asked finalist candidates for a written diversity statement.  Library managers discussed ways to integrate these statements into the interview process to help them be meaningful to both candidates and search committees.    

Staff are working on a proposal to design a program that increases the number of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) librarians through payment of library school tuition. 

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