Wesleyan Library's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Initiatives

Wesleyan Library is deeply committed to the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. They infuse our values, daily work, and annual goals as we strive to create physical and virtual learning environments where all people feel welcomed, valued, and can thrive.

Since July 2020, five Equity and Justice Teams have spearheaded projects to create more equitable library policies and practices.

  • Team A (Library Environment) began by working to ensure that the art hanging in the Olin and Science Libraries is diverse and reflects both the Wesleyan community and the larger world and has expanded to look holistically at creating a more welcoming environment. 
  • Team B (Collections) has been interrogating, changing, and promoting our collections programming and practices to foster transparency and inclusion.
  • Team C (Interrogating Cataloging and Description) is interrogating our cataloging and description terminology and practices to identify problematic areas, work to change them, and help students engage critically with them. 
  • Team D (Hiring and Retention) has been working to improve the library's hiring and retention practices -- ensuring the library is an equitable place where all employees feel they belong.
  • Team E (Staff Conversations) is examining and changing the library's ways of working so that all members of our community feel invited to explore, question, learn, and grow in our spaces.

Read about some of our efforts at Cataloging Libraries—How Subject Headings are Updated to Reflect Humanity and Reframing the Presidents.

We are also pleased to share our Winter 2023 updates:

  • Building on the progress the library has made so far and its commitment to further transformation, the library is planning to incorporate equity action items directly into staff annual goals and the staff review process in the coming academic year.  This will allow the library to more clearly embed the library’s ongoing efforts to provide equitable resources and spaces into staff workflows and interactions and plan for the time and effort required for these efforts. The library has also continued to support staff professional development and collaborations to bring impactful learning about DEI strategies back into the library to further enhance our initiatives, for example, through workshops, webinars, and discussion groups.  We have been especially energized by our collaboration with the Center for the Arts’ Embodying Antiracism Initiative this winter.  Generative conversations with EAI faculty, students, and community members have created new relationships, strengthened existing ones, and opened up new avenues for partnerships.  We were delighted to host a reading and exhibit by EAI fellow Barbara McClane on February 24, 2023 in Olin’s Smith Reading Room and look forward to welcoming the “Power of We” Summer Leadership Institute, a partnership with Urban Bush Women, Junebug Productions, and The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, in June 2023.  Finally, as a tangible ongoing contribution to the community, the Library is participating in the Amazing Grace Sponsor our Shelves program, committing to donate at least 100 of the most needed food items each month to help the local food pantry serve families facing food insecurity.
  • The library’s five Equity and Justice teams have been reinvigorated by enthusiastic additions from the library’s newest staff members.  Highlights of the teams’ work in the past months include the following:   
    • Team A has been enhancing communication channels with students and faculty about exhibition policies to increase clarity and transparency and reduce barriers.  They will post the finalized policies on the library website shortly.  In addition, the team is working on an overall calendar of exhibition spaces to make it easier to schedule student and class exhibits.
    • Team B is continuing an evaluation of collection policies through the lens of diversity and inclusion and examining how to best to share this information on the library website.
    • Team C has been focusing most recently on 1) incorporating subject terminology from the Homosaurus (an international linked data vocabulary of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) terms) into relevant catalog records, and 2) writing both a public-facing statement about bias in metadata and an internal-facing policy document that all of the library collections can refer to. 
    • Team D has 1) updated the library’s Hiring Guidelines, 2) explored establishing an internship program, which they hope to pilot next year, and 3) continued to support new staff members through their staff ambassador program. 
    • Team E has revised outward facing policies on the library website to make the language clearer and more welcoming and reduce barriers for users, especially visitors, in accessing the library.  The team is exploring ways of incorporating more input from the library’s stakeholders, especially students and faculty.    

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.

Previous announcements:

 Winter 2022 Report 

Summer 2022 Report

May 2021: Report of immediate and long term action items from our May 2021 Library DEIJ Summit

May 2021: Statement in support of the Asian and Asian American community  

June 2020: Statement in support of Black Lives Matter