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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Explored in Research Library Issues

cover of RLI 301This has been a year of tremendous turmoil and uncertainty—the outsized impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black, Indigenous, and other people of color and the police killings of Black citizens in the United States have been devastating. With a heightened awareness of too-long-existing systemic societal inequities and a renewed commitment to enduring social justice, particularly as it relates to racism and systems of oppression, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) reviewed and deepened its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all it does. This new issue of Research Libraries Issues (RLI) reflects that commitment, offering a range of perspectives on how libraries and archives can create and sustain organizational change in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In the first article, two librarians of color at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Teresa Helena Moreno and Jennifer M. Jackson, chronicle a process whereby critical race and feminist theory informed the assessment and development of an undergraduate engagement program that was connected to broader, campus-level, student-success efforts. The authors reimagined how to define student success in the context of one of the most diverse, urban universities in the US and developed new programming and success metrics to reflect that.

In an informal interview, three practitioners with responsibilities for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), either within their institutions or on a consortial/association level, discuss the impact of these two historical events on their current work and their future plans. Maha Kumaran is associate librarian for the Education and Music Library at the University of Saskatchewan. Jeff Witt is an organizational and leadership development professional for the University of Michigan Library. Twanna Hodge is the diversity, equity, and inclusion librarian for the University of Florida Libraries.

The third article in this issue features the work of Kiyomi Deards, ARL visiting program officer from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. To help ARL prepare to enhance its professional development efforts, Deards has been researching competency frameworks in DEI, as well as training and developmental providers and experiences that libraries and other industries have been implementing on a local level. This article highlights a few examples from the extensive data set of providers and methodologies she identified.

The table of contents with links to the articles follows:

Research Library Issues no. 301 (2020) is freely available from ARL Digital Publications.


About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise; advances diversity, equity, and inclusion; and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.