UWSP Libraries Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Plan

Introduction

The UWSP Libraries Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Working Group was formed February 2021 and charged with creating a UWSP Libraries statement and plan to be presented to the General Library Council on May 20, 2021. After drafting definitions of equity, diversity, and inclusion, the working group drafted an EDI statement and identified five key areas on which to focus our EDI plan: (1) Collection Development, (2) Outreach and Engagement, (3) Instruction and Assessment, (4) Staff Recruitment, Retention, and Development, and (5) Service and Accessibility. Each of these areas are envisioned below and will further take shape following University College EDI initiatives in Fall 2021.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Definitions

Diversity:

Differing socio-cultural factors related to individual and community identity, including but not limited to race/ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, country of origin, ability, socio-economic background, religion, political affiliation, or other cultural identity.

Equity:

The effort to provide different levels of support based on an individual’s or group’s needs in order to achieve fairness in outcomes, through the recognition of differences in experience and levels of need. 

Inclusion:

The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity through the creation of an environment in which all individuals feel they are welcomed and belong; are treated fairly and respectfully; are valued, integrated, and welcomed equitably as decision makers, collaborators, and colleagues; are valued for their distinctive skills, experiences, and perspectives; have equal access to resources and opportunities; and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.

UWSP Libraries EDI Statement

The UWSP Libraries affirm that the wholistic value of experiences, ideologies, and identities are at the center of academic success. A well-rounded, thought provoking, and challenging education cannot occur outside of exposure to diverse communities, perspectives, and experiences. We acknowledge that our collections and spaces have reflected a broader system of inequality, and we commit ourselves to continued learning and improvement.

As an innovative partner in the learning community and an active participant in promoting the University’s goals of teaching, learning, scholarship, and community outreach, the UWSP Libraries hold equity, diversity, and inclusivity at the forefront of our mission. The libraries encourage an inclusive, user-focused environment that promotes freedom of speech in conjunction with policies that protect patrons and library staff of all gender, national, origin, ethnicity, religion, race, sexual orientation, disability, income level, age, and all other personal, social, cultural, and economic perspectives.

The UWSP Libraries shall continually foster an environment of inclusion through:

  • Supporting intellectual freedom and ensuring equitable access to learning resources and services
  • Providing a safe, welcoming, accessible, and comfortable space for study and social engagement to support collaboration and promote discovery
  • Modeling inclusive pedagogy in our teaching, our technology offerings, and the learning objects we create and maintain
  • Equitably serving the needs of all users regardless of background
  • Strengthening collections to support the changing University curriculum and anticipated user needs in an increasingly diverse and global environment
  • Amplifying marginalized and historically silenced voices and their cultural contributions in programming, outreach, collection management, resource description, and institutional and community partnerships to further social justice and equity
  • Committing to the recruitment and retention of a diverse staff while providing opportunities for professional development and continued growth

Collection Development

Create and promote collections that are reflective of cultural heritage, cultural backgrounds, and social identities and are inclusive of the needs of all persons in the community.

Collect items with authentic voices and pay special attention to items beyond mainstream reviews

Provide increased accessibility through cataloging by allowing natural language words and advocating for changes in LOC headings

Regularly assess the adequacy of existing collections to ensure they are reflective of the diversity of the library’s populations.   

Include student organizations and library users input in the planning, development, and evaluation of library collections.

Acknowledge that materials may be considered controversial to some readers while still supporting intellectual freedom in the library

Outreach and Engagement

Who we reach out to and when we reach out during planning, implementation, and review

Intentional Programming and Program Evaluation

Methods of collecting feedback

Amplifying and supporting the voices and needs of underrepresented groups on campus

Coordination and cross-support with/for other groups, units on campus, in community

Best practices for marketing, social media, student engagement, and programming

Instruction and Assessment

As the central hub of information and learning at UWSP, University Libraries instruction and assessment should reflect the broader equity, diversity, and inclusion climate across our campuses. Instructors should be personally aware of their own biases and endeavor to present information representing multiple perspectives, backgrounds, and identities as appropriate to the subject of instruction.

Instructors should follow guidelines outlined in the University Handbook Chapter 9 Section 1 surrounding the pedagogical use of offensive language.

To help combat potential bias in student evaluation of teaching effectiveness for the purpose of assessment, the mode of evaluation should include language addressing bias, such as:

UWSP recognizes that student evaluations of teaching are often influenced by unconscious and unintentional biases about the race and gender of the instructor. As you fill out this course evaluation, please keep this in mind and make an effort to resist stereotypes about professors.

Staff Recruitment, Retention, and Development

Grow candidate pool’s diversity by reaching out through networks of special interest groups, associations, and listservs

Incorporate EDI into new job descriptions and onboarding practices

Form inclusive hiring committees by providing EDI training, support, and resources for committee members

Foster an inclusive environment by having library leadership committed to supporting EDI initiatives, training, and programming

Conduct environmental scans regularly by surveying faculty, staff, and students of every background and ability in order to identify systemic barriers about the institution’s collegiality, climate, and how well it is doing in its EDI work

Encourage and help facilitate mentorship opportunities with UWSP faculty or staff and/or other library workers through library networks and associations

Service and Accessibility

Support for Resource Discovery and Use of Resources

Support for Distance and Nontraditional learners

Access to Physical Collections

Access to Library Space Resources

Best practices for patron services, equity of service, intentional design of space and practice for inclusive accessibility

ACRL Diversity Alliance 2022 - Committed to equality