Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Update – January 2021

On December 2, 2020 the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee formally introduced itself to the Libraries’ faculty and staff by email to share its purpose and vision. The committee was charged this past summer by Cabinet to, among other things, develop a learning journey for the Libraries that will raise awareness of issues related to DEI and create an environment where we all contribute to a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

A learning journey does not have deadlines or an end-date; it’s a continuing process and requires all of us to build awareness, knowledge, and skills to support DEI initiatives. As Dr. Caprice Hollins reminded us in her workshop earlier this month, the educational journey for even the most expert researchers and facilitators is never over. While we may be on different parts of our own personal learning path, the work to educate should operate with a view to building a foundation for lifelong learning beyond our time here at the Libraries. Because of our varying identities and experience we will have different levels of readiness to act and advocate to make the Libraries a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. Many of us are just starting out on the journey to build awareness and increase our knowledge of the systemic issues and injustices present in our society. This is why we call it a learning journey. No matter where you are on this journey, it’s important to recognize the work is not easy. We welcome everyone to join in to build a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and a workplace where we want to show up, work together, and serve our communities.

This work cannot be done by the DEI committee alone and we all will need to contribute. As a group, the committee will bring speakers, plan programs, develop a DEI inventory and environmental scan, and serve as a source for other DEI activities. Individually, we all can reflect on what we are learning, where we fall short, check our biases, root out inequities, and have difficult conversations when needed. Together, we strive to create a community that:

  • Fosters mutual respect and diverse perspectives that reflect varying backgrounds, identities, roles, and their intersections.
  • Create and support structures and behaviors that promote equality, fairness, and justice.
  • Promote an environment of belonging, respect, opportunity, and empowerment.

We invite you to visit our committee site on the Libraries’ staff pages to read the charge and review our meeting minutes or to contact us at diversity_equity_inclusion@libraries.rutgers.edu.

We are also pleased to share that a new anonymous feedback form has been created and posted to our staff page so that Libraries faculty and staff can confidentially share their questions, concerns, ideas, and experiences with the team.

We look forward to bringing more programs and resources to the libraries in the coming months.

Regina Koury