A commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is, of necessity, a commitment to growth. What follows is an imperfect statement of our development at this point in time. Thus, this document should be understood as one that will deepen and develop, particularly as we work with our entire community to refine, enlarge and improve it. If you have suggestions about how we can improve EDI in our department, please let us know via this anonymous form.
At the UNCG Department of Information, Library, and Research Sciences (ILRS), we are committed to creating a learning environment rooted in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We welcome students, faculty, and staff of any age, race, gender, disability, religion, socio-economic status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation. We stand in full support of our students and faculty members who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), LGBTTQQIAAP, differently abled, or are from other marginalized groups, and recognize their valuable contributions. As library and information professionals, we are fiercely committed to ensuring fair and open access to information for all people, and we recognize that we must particularly focus on access for people who have been historically disenfranchised in the information environment; we are champions of intellectual freedom and fight for inclusivity of people and ideas. As educators, we must work to remove the barriers of systemic racism and increase outreach to underrepresented students, so that tomorrow’s librarians are as diverse as the communities they serve. As a department, we strive for our curriculum and our faculty to reflect scholarship from the widest variety of perspectives. We acknowledge that while we have long been committed to this issue, we can and we will do more to help dismantle systemic racism and oppression and its impact on BIPOC and the many other people marginalized for some aspect of their humanity.
At the UNCG Department of Information, Library, and Research Sciences (ILRS), we are redoubling our commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion by starting new initiatives and building on existing frameworks. These are meant to be enduring structural changes, and will evolve as we respond to feedback.
Our Commitment to EDI is Longstanding. Although there are many ways to view the history of the ILRS Department’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, two initiatives stand out. One is the iDEAL (information, diversity, equity, and libraries) Summits that began in 2009. These summits have brought speakers, community members, students, and faculty together to discuss ways to address inequities in library service and education. Another related effort is the ACE (Academic and Cultural Enrichment) Scholars initiative, a series of three grant-funded projects that focused on bringing diversity into librarianship.
The 2009 iDEAL Summit was constructed to be a day of community engagement and featured then ALA President Camila Alire as the keynote speaker. The ILRS Department and community discussed ways that multiculturalism and equity could be brought to library service. In subsequent years, the Summit discussed LGBTQIIA issues (LGBTQIA Out on the Open Shelves: Serving Hidden Communities, Mario Ascencio), international librarianship (Rethinking the Local: Reimagining Libraries in a Flattening World), radical library service (Fearless, Disruptive, and Savvy Library Outreach: Stories from the Field, Laurence Copel), information literacy (Information Literacy Across the Lifespan, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe), and service to children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (Connecting Libraries and Autism, Meg Kolaya and Dan Weiss ). We discussed these topics through the multiple lenses of diversity, equity, and library services. Our 2021 conference will explore leadership and diversity (Leading from the Heart!, Wanda Brown).
The Academic and Cultural Enrichment (ACE) Scholars initiative began in 2008 and was a joint effort of the UNCG University Libraries and the ILRS Department. Partner institutions included local HBCUs including NC A&T, Bennett College, Livingstone College, Johnson C. Smith College, and Winston-Salem State University. The goal was to recruit 15 students into a cohort that would be mutually supportive. Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Studies paid for tuition, equipment, and the enrichment of conference attendance, both locally and nationally. A second cohort entered the program in 2010. A third round of funding was obtained that focused on the need for New Americans to serve in community college libraries and began in 2013. In total, 49 ACE Scholars graduated with the MLIS. These individuals were Black, Latinx, LGBTQIIA, and first-generation graduate students. They are now working in community college, public, school, special, and university libraries.
We want to know how we can do better. If you have any suggestions, comments, or concerns, please use this anonymous form.
A variety of financial aid is available to our students, including scholarships based on academic merit and financial need. We invite you to explore the many scholarship and funding opportunities offered in the School of Education.