Our Values and Commitments

Wesleyan University Library is deeply committed to the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, to contributing to systemic justice, and to providing physical and virtual spaces where all people are welcomed, valued, and can thrive academically, creatively, and personally.

While our values are longstanding, our active focus on racial justice work was catalyzed by the murder of George Floyd.  In June 2020, we issued this statement in support of Black Lives Matter

  • excerpt: "We deeply believe that Black Lives Matter. We understand that eliminating the systemic racism that pervades our society must be a responsibility and a calling for all of us. We also understand that this work is difficult and often painful, and that it will not happen quickly. Nevertheless, we are committed to working towards this common goal in our own areas of purview, both within the structure of the library and beyond."

In July 2020, staff formed five Equity and Justice Teams to work towards more equitable library policies and practices.

  • Walls of the Library -- ensuring that the art hanging in the Olin and Science libraries is diverse and reflects both the Wesleyan community and the larger world
  • Collections -- interrogating, changing, and promoting our collections programming and practices to foster transparency and inclusion
  • Interrogating Cataloging and Description -- interrogating our cataloging terminology and practices to identify problematic areas, and work to change them 
  • Improving our Hiring and Retention Practices -- ensuring the library is a positive, equitable place to work for all employees
  • Staff Conversations -- examining and changing our own biases and behaviors so that all members of our community feel invited to explore, question, learn, and grow in our spaces 

In May 2021, in response to anti-Asian violence, the library voiced its support for the Asian and Asian American community. 

  • excerpt: "We join with President Roth in speaking up and standing in solidarity with the Asian and Asian-American community, and will not tolerate oppression of any kind.... To further equity and justice, we resolve to evaluate and uproot hurtful biases, policies, and practices within our work now and into the future.... We are committed to this work and to making the Wesleyan Library a place where all members of the Wesleyan and Middletown communities feel a sense of safety and belonging. "

On May 19, 2021, staff members gathered virtually in a Library DEIJ Summit to discuss the progress of the teams to date and participate in identifying immediate and long term action items, which are continuing to energize our work. 

This fall we are further incorporating DEIJ principles into our class instruction and daily work procedures.  In addition, the library is dedicating staff time to pursuing several overarching initiatives: 1) implementing a training series to deepen staff knowledge of equity and social justice issues and emerging strategies, 2) reviewing library policies and procedures from an equity lens to embed equity throughout our work, and 3) creating a new web area on the library web site to share our efforts transparently (for which this page is a placeholder).  

We invite you to share your thoughts and join with us in creating a more equitable and just future. Contact University Librarian Andrew White at awhite02@wesleyan.edu