Equity, Diversity, Accessibility and Inclusion
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The Libraries strive to offer inclusive and accessible physical and virtual spaces. We aim to be an equitable and inclusive organization, where all staff are supported, heard and encouraged to share ideas, and where all library users feel welcome, safe and respected as they follow their own academic and creative pursuits. As Libraries’ administrators and staff, we have the opportunity and responsibility to ensure that our programming, services, collections, spaces, staffing, policies, practices and communications align with these ambitions.
We also recognize that systemic inequities are embedded within libraries, universities and throughout our society, resulting in significant harm to our most vulnerable, marginalized and oppressed populations. We acknowledge that our institution is built upon the ancestral lands of the Onondaga Nation and recognize the history of genocide and forced removal of indigenous populations from their territories. Community and societal injustices must not be ignored, and we must confront and dismantle systems of oppression, such as white supremacy, wherever they exist, including at Syracuse University. The Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Guide and the Guide to Resources for Racial Justice are just two examples of resources available to us and our community to begin this work.
Our 2018-2022 Strategic Plan includes Goal 8: Enhance Diversity and Inclusion, with specific objectives and strategies that we are working on actively. Subsequent statements underscore our commitment to diversity and inclusion, including a response to the racist Theta Tau fraternity videos in 2018 and the 2020 statement from the Dean and the SU Libraries Diversity and Inclusion Team in support of Black Lives Matter. Our programming, services and spaces encourage conversations in support of diversity and inclusion (such as our annual Living Library event) and highlight the experiences, history and creativity of people from underrepresented groups (such as the Black Arts Movement Popup Exhibit in our Special Collections Research Center). We are reviewing our collections to ensure that they reflect diversity, differences and distinctions. We have established the position of an Inclusion and Accessibility Librarian, who leads efforts to provide equitable access to SU Libraries’ resources and services, including a service to provide alternate formats of library materials to patrons with disabilities. Internal efforts, led by the Libraries' Diversity and Inclusion Team, include recommending resources and training to help the Libraries' administrators and staff learn more about diversity and inclusion, as well as offering guidance and implementing ongoing change. A recent focus of the Diversity and Inclusion Team is providing consultations on equitable hiring and recruiting practices.
While we believe our efforts are leading in a positive direction, we acknowledge the substantial work we still must do in addressing the whiteness, racism, ableism, sexism and other systems of oppression that continue to exist within our own field. Syracuse University Libraries is committed to reviewing and interrogating our professional practices in support of equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility, in alignment with Syracuse University’s Diversity and Inclusion work. We are reviewing our organizational commitments and goals and will continue to update the University community on our progress. Our library supporters and donors are contributing to our efforts, too. For example, Library Advisory Board member Todd Rubin has made a five-year commitment to support student entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. The Todd B. Rubin Diversity and Inclusion Scholars work with the Blackstone LaunchPad to broaden diversity and inclusion outreach and programming, expand participation in entrepreneurship by underrepresented groups and support the University's commitment to diversity and inclusion. As we do this important work, we welcome all constructive criticism and feedback from the communities we serve.
Questions and Answers
Syracuse University Libraries’ commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility reflects the shared values of our university and of our profession. Statements and commitments from professional associations include:
- Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Core Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion;
- Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Statement Condemning Racism and Violence Against Black Communities and their diversity leadership development activities;
- American Library Association (ALA) Advocacy for Equitable Access to Library Services for All;
- Society of American Archivists (SAA) Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and
- Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications' Joint Statement of Principles.
If you updated your preferred pronouns or name with University records, most likely the Libraries will eventually receive that information from the University. However, there is a lag time connecting systems.