Intentional Commitment to DEIAJ at the UConn Library
UConn Library commits to fostering a culture of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Justice (DEIAJ). To catalyze our commitment, the Library has dedicated and will continue to dedicate a range of resources, initiatives, and opportunities that aspire to increase awareness and encourage action. Our shared expectation is that every UConn Library employee supports and engages in DEIAJ efforts. We acknowledge that achieving positive change depends on being proactive, communicative, responsive, honest about failures and successes, and committed to continuous learning. We are guided by our core values and our Strategic Framework to connect, empower, and engage with ourselves and our community.
UConn Library staff work through a diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and justice (DEIAJ) lens. For us, that means an intentional and proactive integration of DEIAJ principles in our daily work and decision making to ensure our continued growth in creating equitable access and inclusivity within library services, resources, and spaces.
Building Diverse Collections
We view collections as reflections of the communities we serve and the systems within which we work, striving to subvert systems of oppression. Based on our guiding principles, we approach all aspects of our collection management policies, budgets, and practices iteratively, critically, holistically, and flexibly. For example, cataloging is done critically by adding content that improve the discoverability of resources by using terminology acknowledged and supported by the minority communities that have not traditionally been represented in Library of Congress Subject Headings. Our cataloging is also reparative, adding and changing subject headings to currently accepted terminology. We regularly feature and celebrate diverse collections throughout the year as curated book displays, presentations, and activities that are open to all and are designed to inspire curiosity and conversation.
Our communication and marketing strategies advocate for and enable organization wide DEIAJ initiatives. We focus on ensuring diverse groups are represented in imagery, photography, and language and when appropriate, utilize fonts and images created by underrepresented groups to highlight diverse talents. Accessibility in digital products is a priority, including our web environment which adheres to UConn and WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards.
We continuously assess and implement upgrades to all our library spaces, with the goal to have every library user feel welcome and comfortable. We place a high value on creating this experience for populations with diverse needs. All our libraries are accessible, and service animals are allowed. Recent improvements in Homer Babbidge Library include accessible individual study spaces, automatic doors on floors 2, 3, and 4, and wellness and meditation spaces.
Staff Engagement and Support
Staff are provided with time to engage in DEIAJ learning and are encouraged to contribute to library and university-wide diversity-related initiatives. This includes job-specific professional development and memberships, leading or participating in DEIAJ working groups and committees, and DEIAJ research. In our search processes, we proactively create a user-neutral experience for candidates which includes rotating search committees and staff completion of search compliance and anti-bias training. We prioritize closed captioning, using audio and visual cues in our virtual environments, and sharing pronouns.
UConn Library Action Committee for Inclusion
The UConn Library Action Committee for Inclusion (ULACI) is a permanent committee that establishes and operationalizes measures that directly realize the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and justice for UConn Library staff and the populations we serve. A dedicated annual budget supports our commitment to making real and actual change, including establishing new or improved practices and procedures, creating policy, and developing project-based initiatives in support of DEIAJ work and education.