Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The University Libraries strives to be a place that welcomes everyone by providing knowledgeable, accessible, responsive, empathetic and equitable services and programs to all of our users.

We value inclusion and equity and are committed to:

  • Doing more to help address systemic racism and confront the issues affecting our students and community.
  • Taking action to make the University Libraries a safe place for all.
  • Fostering an inclusive environment that breaks down barriers to equality.
  • Inviting you to hold us, and each other, accountable.

We have compiled anti-racism resources that may be helpful to us all. Please share additional resources with us.

We will listen

  • We are committed to listening. We are committed to asking questions.

Our commitment to take action

We act upon our values through:

  • Training

    Training our faculty and staff to understand, recognize and actively work to counter implicit bias and systemic racism in our organization.

    Training efforts

  • Collections

    Curating and promoting collections that offer diverse perspectives and highlight marginalized voices.

    Collection efforts

  • Programming

    Creating programming and exhibits to educate our community about the history of racism, inequality and oppression.

    Programming efforts

  • Hiring practices

    Examining our hiring practices and implement changes to increase the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives at all levels within the organization.

    Hiring practices efforts

  • Digital learning

    Supporting crucial digital learning and access by providing expanded access to computers, high-end internet and emerging technologies to students in need.

    Digital learning efforts

  • Policies

    Reviewing Libraries policies and procedures to identify and address biases.

    Policy efforts

  • Collaboration

    Working with others in the library community to eliminate bias in the profession.

    Collaboration efforts

Our efforts so far

  • Training

    We've taken the following steps with training our faculty and staff:

    1. Developed and communicated a DEI action plan.
    2. Offered a one-day Introduction to Systemic Racism Workshop facilitated by ERACCE in the fall of 2021.
    3. Regularly discuss issues of inclusion and equity in staff, faculty and library management meetings.
    4. Conducted a series of conversations throughout 2022 to explore specific issues related to antiracism, diversity, and inclusion and academic library practices.
    5. Creating opportunities for staff and faculty to participate in monthly discussions exploring a wide variety of DEI topics.
  • Collections

    We’ve taken the following steps to diversify our collections:

    1. Review and updating of the University Libraries’ collection development policies are being led by the Collections Governance Committee.
    2. Identifying and eliminating racist Library of Congress Subject Headings from our library catalog and replacing them with inclusive language. 
    3. Actively investigating ways to expand diverse perspectives represented in the Libraries’ collections.
    4. Where possible, are prioritizing publications from small independent presses to support a diversity of scholarship and viewpoints.
    5. Have continued to support the textbook reserve program, which is designed to help students with challenges obtaining curricular materials.
    6. Saved students over one million dollars in estimated textbook costs with the continued support of the Libraries' OER grants, which provide financial incentives for WMU instructors to switch to free, high-quality online resources rather than using a traditional textbook, or to create their own OER.
    7. Joined a cohort facilitated by Ithaka S+R to develop strategies for building and advocating for the importance of diverse collections.
  • Programming

    We’ve taken the following steps to create educational opportunities for our community to learn about the history of racism, inequality and oppression:

    1. Offered the following programs to our community during the fall 2021 semester:
    • Capturing Community: Digital Storytelling and Community-Driven Archives Speaker Series, a collaboration between Western Michigan University Center for the Humanities and University Libraries. In this series, guest scholars talked about how they use community-driven archiving and digital storytelling collaborations to highlight underrepresented communities, preserve their histories and stories, and capture history-making social justice movements
    • A Message to Black College Students: A discussion with the Author, Jerjuan Howard, an event co-sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations, and University Libraries.
    1. Continue to develop programs and invite presenters, who represent diverse voices and perspectives, to speak at events
  • Hiring practices

    We’ve taken the following steps to examine our hiring practices and implement changes:

    1. Libraries' faculty conducted an audit of the faculty interview process in 2022. Many of the recommendations were integrated into the latest faculty search process, resulting in the hire of two tenure-track faculty members.
    2. Created a paid internship program that offers professional and job-related learning experiences for undergraduate and graduate students.
    3. Actively advertise postings with underrepresented identity groups and help ensure the visibility of opportunities to a wide audience.
  • Digital learning

    We’ve taken the following steps to support digital learning and access to students in need:

    1. Provide substantive public computing and printing options in Waldo Library, to support those with unmet technology needs.
    2. Provide new services at no cost, such as the Library 3D printing program, Media Studio, flight simulators, and Virtual Reality (VR) Lab.
    3. Have leveraged VR technology to provide new programmatic experiences for campus groups, such as the VR application “Notes on Blindness” which shares one individual’s experience of losing vision.
    4. Continued to expand technology options to support student success based on student needs, such as calculators.
  • Policies

    We’ve taken the following steps to identify and address biases in our policies and procedures:

    1. Completed a library policy audit.
    2. A newly drafted Materials Consideration Policy is currently under review.
  • Collaboration

    We’ve taken the following steps to collaborate with colleagues across the profession:

    1. Participated in the national and regional Academic and College Research Libraries Diversity Resident Program designed to offer new opportunities for emerging librarians from underrepresented groups.
    2. Several members of the University Libraries administration and faculty have taken on service leadership positions within the Michigan Academic Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services, and within other professional associations and are currently working to create a more inclusive climate within these communities of practice.
    3. Two library faculty have published: Bocko, A.F., Guth, L. and Broadnax, M. (2021), "Library response to Black Liberation Collective: a review of student calls for change and implications for anti-racist initiatives in academic libraries", Reference Services Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/RSR-07-2021-0036