Formalizing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Efforts at the Drexel University Libraries
February 3, 2021
Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has long been fundamental to the Drexel University Libraries’ core mission and values. This year, the Libraries is taking additional steps to formalize its efforts to support and embrace equity, inclusion and diversity at Drexel.
In January, Danuta A. Nitecki, Dean of Libraries, and the Strategic Leadership Group (SLG) announced the creation of two new staff assignments to focus attention and coordinate conversations and activities around diversity, equity and inclusion both internally among Libraries staff and externally across campus and the surrounding communities. Two current employees who have demonstrated leadership, interest, experience, and training in diversity, equity and inclusion will assume the new assigned roles and responsibilities.
Tainesha Ware, Coordinator, Administrative Services, was appointed the Libraries’ DEI Liaison. In this role, Tainesha will connect the Libraries with other campus partners (such as Drexel's Anti-Racism Task Force, The Office of Equality and Diversity, and the Center for Black Culture at Drexel University), programs and initiatives to support the BIPOC community at Drexel. She will also engage with DEI initiatives within the Libraries.
Rachel Weidner, also a Coordinator, Administrative Services, was appointed Chair of the Libraries’ newly charged Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Working Group. Previously an informal staff discussion group and committee, the Working Group is now formally charged with making recommendations and implementing changes to further enhance and develop the Libraries’ culture of inclusion and its support of diverse ideas and people.
These appointments serve as the first of many DUL investments for organizational change. Drexel Libraries staff share strong personal values that support the library profession’s deeply grounded commitments to access, equity, diversity, privacy, and life-long learning. All members of the Libraries staff will continue to join the conversation and take action to support the Libraries’ and the University’s work around DEI.
A few other action items the Libraries is engaging in:
- We acknowledge that many information resources may have inherent biases. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment by providing access to diverse information resources that reflect the world in which we live.
- We assess already owned and licensed resources, as well as availability of publications, videos, oral histories, databases and specialized collections, to determine ways to improve awareness of and access to sources of information to explore issues of diversity, equity and accessibility.
- We create resource lists to serve as a starting point for anyone interested in learning about systems of race, privilege and power, as well as how to enact change in ourselves and our organizations.
- We provide support for Libraries staff professional development opportunities, such as the upcoming course, Equity in Action: Fostering an Antiracist Library Culture.
- We ensure that we have a diverse lineup of speakers and events that address issues around diversity, equity and inclusion.
If you would like to contribute to the Drexel Libraries’ efforts or have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org