Skip to main content

Libraries' IDEA

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility

Library staff have engaged with diversity, equity and inclusion work for some years, but a confluence of events in the summer of 2020 sparked a desire to structure this work in a way that could integrate it into every staff person's job description and be sustainable into the future.

With the support of College Librarian, Peggy Seiden, a group of library staff members began to build scaffolding for this work, and by the beginning of Fall semester, had developed a Committee Charge and a structure of three sub-groups in which work unfolds:

  • Education: organizes learning opportunities and events for library staff
  • Infrastructure: develops and maintains internal and externally facing communication tools, tracks, and archives our shared work
  • Action: generates ideas and plans short and long term actions that transform our learning and discussions into real change
students working at a table with laptops

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

The IDEA Committee has about a dozen members who meet monthly, using the AORTA guidelines (Anti-oppressive Facilitation for Democratic Process for Making Meetings Awesome for Everyone) to share updates from the sub-groups and to practice IDEA work through discussion topics and exercises. The Steering Committee, one third of the larger group, meets twice each monthly and has a bi-monthly meeting with the College Librarian. The Committee welcomed a Bryn Mawr College student as an Intern in the spring of 2021 and hopes to incorporate a lasting student presence in the Committee structure.

Additionally, Libraries' IDEA communicates with campus partners both formally, via representation on the Diversity Council, and informally in our conversations with faculty, students and staff. We hope to grow together in this work both inside and outside the Libraries.

smiling students

Photo by Leon on Unsplash

Highlights of IDEA work include:

  • Publishing an Anti-Black Racism Statement 
  • a Moodle course to launch learning opportunities created by the Education group and offered as a place for general discussion, as well as resource sharing
  • Internal library learning opportunities including one on bias in language, another on the concept of #ownvoices (a hashtag movement used to recommend books about diverse characters that are written by authors of that same group) and one on the topic of inclusivity and accessibility in library spaces.
  • A Job Board resource (shared broadly with academic libraries) to help hiring managers recruit diverse candidates for library positions

The Committee would love to hear from you! Email us at library-dei@swarthmore.edu with questions and suggestions.