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Advancing Diversity, Inclusion, and Equality: Yale University

by Susan Gibbons | University Librarian and Deputy Provost for Libraries & Scholarly Communication | on March 1, 2016

Library exhibits on underrepresented people and civil rights

Student-curated exhibit on Japanese-American internment camps. NYTimes coverage caused us to expand the hours of the exhibit. (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/02/arts/design/life-in-a-japanese-american-internment-camp-via-the-diary-of-a-young-man.html?_r=0)

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we created banners for the Sterling Library nave that highlight material in the archives from a visit to campus by Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. Exhibit contains material that shows both positive and negative reactions to his invitation to campus and awarding of an honorary degree, which we think will encourage dialogue.

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Recently partnered with student groups to create the Reading Resilience Project which aims to highlight voices of commonly underrepresented peoples. The project was initiated We’re starting with books on race, ethnicity, and narratives of people of color. The project is entirely based on student book recommendations, which are put on display in Bass Library.

Here is the Reading Resilience Project’s logo:


Library as an intellectual commons at Yale; a safe place for discussion. Library has already been sponsoring very robust programming on very diverse topics, but that programming is now seen in a different light.

Established a student performing arts program in the Sterling Nave on Friday afternoons during the academic year. Performances include ethnic dancing, a cappella groups, performance poetry, string quartets, Native American drum group, etc.

Host book talks, lectures, and guest speakers on diverse topics, such as LGBT studies, women’s history, African American history, Holocaust studies, and global studies.

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Library seeking new ways to increase diversity of its staff through internship programs.


A partnership between the Beinecke Library and HistoryMakers (http://www.thehistorymakers.com/) will result in the creation of a new, ongoing minority archival fellowship, beginning in the fall of 2016.

The Medical Library partners with a local, inner-city high school to provide a short internship through which promising students are introduced to medical librarianship as a potential career.

When possible, the library partners with international librarian internship programs, including South Africa and, next month, Qatar.

Library as a welcoming, safe place, with staff who are deeply engaged with students. Student mental wellness has emerged as a topic at Yale that is closely connected with diversity.


During exam time, the library hosts events to help students relax and recharge. For example, therapy dogs, free food and coffee, yoga and Zumba classes. Also host game nights with Wii, Xbox, etc.


Have a long-running personal librarian program wherein freshmen students are assigned to a librarian. The ratio is about 1 librarian to 35 freshmen. Personal librarians regularly reach out to their students to offer research assistance, brainstorming a paper topic, etc.
The library has a very close partnership with programs that provide assistance to “at risk” students, such as first generation students and international students. We can provide details about those programs if desired.

The library is leading the university response to technology accessibility issues. Believe that a diverse campus is one that is welcoming and accessible to students with disabilities.

Back to “What ARL Members Are Doing to Advance Diversity, Inclusion, and Equality

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