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Synergy Issue 13 Explores Promoting Diversity and Equity in Libraries and Archives

2006-07-29-synergy-issue-13-cover-140x105In 2015, a wave of student activism moved throughout the United States and Canada as student protesters made demands of their campus administrations for equality and an end to systemic racism and oppression. Heightened media attention to police violence against racial and ethnic minorities and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement have raised consciousness, on both the campus and the civic level, of the dilemma of equal rights and protections for these populations. The July 2016 issue of Synergy: News from ARL Diversity Programs features three articles that relate to strategies of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) for increasing diversity and promoting equity in the academic and research library and archive communities.

In “Diversity Initiatives Still Matter” (PDF), former ARL Leadership and Career Development (LCDP) fellow Charlene Maxey-Harris reflects on her experience with diversity programming at her institution (University of Nebraska–Lincoln) as well as on a national level through her work with the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) “Diversity Standards.” Maxey-Harris stresses the need for continued research and assessment of these programs in order to tell the story of their success.

Throughout ARL’s various diversity and leadership programs, mentoring and career coaching remain critical to the success of the programs. In “Paying It Forward” (PDF), three former fellows from ARL’s collaboration with the Music Library Association (MLA), the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative—Joy M. Doan, Treshani Perera, and Patrick Sifuentes—offer important advice on what makes for an effective mentor/mentee relationship.

Personal and academic interests intersect in Erik Ponder’s essay about his experience creating an oral history project while at the Columbia University Libraries as part of his ARL Career Enhancement Program (CEP) internship in summer of 2015, “Conversations with Gay McDougall” (PDF). Ponder, a specialist in African history, interviewed McDougall, a human rights activist who was a key figure in the anti-Apartheid movement in the United States and the former head of the Southern Africa Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Ponder describes the process of identifying the oral history project and quickly developing the skills to complete it as part his CEP fellowship.

Synergy: News from ARL Diversity Programs, issue 13 (PDF) is freely available on the ARL website.

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/.

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