Research organization Ithaka S+R announced on May 16, 2016, that it has embarked on the latest in a series of studies of diversity, equity, and inclusion in cultural organizations—this one focusing on academic libraries. The study, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will examine diversity across all job types in college and university libraries in the US. The researchers will also survey library directors to explore policy, practice, and perceptions about issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Roger C. Schonfeld, director of the Ithaka S+R Libraries and Scholarly Communication Program and an Association of Research Libraries (ARL) leadership fellow, said in the May 16 Ithaka S+R Blog post about the study:
The Spring 2016 ARL meeting provided ample evidence of the importance that academic and research libraries place in diversity and social justice issues today. There is a palpable interest in moving beyond just simple measures of diversity to address shortcomings in organizational inclusiveness and equity. There is a clear sense of responsibility among library leaders to confront inequities designed into and taking place within their buildings: everything from redesigning bathrooms to recalibrating the balance between offensive and free speech. And there remains great interest in the structural barriers that continue to impede not only staff diversity but also inclusiveness.
The project’s goal is to supply academic library leaders with evidence to help prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion and to guide the community in strategically addressing organizational and systemic inequities.
Academic library directors, including directors of all US academic ARL member libraries, will be invited early this summer to participate in the project. The researchers encourage 100% participation in the project to capture a complete snapshot of the academic library landscape in the US.
The project advisory committee includes leaders from four ARL libraries as well as ARL’s director of diversity and leadership programs, Mark A. Puente, and other leaders in higher education and libraries.
Ithaka S+R will be presenting a project update and seeking community input during an open session at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday, June 26, 2016, 3:00–4:00 p.m. EDT. Register online if you are interested in attending that free event.
About the Association of Research Libraries
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.