ACRL is dedicated to creating diverse and inclusive communities in the Association and in academic and research libraries. This core commitment permeates the work of the Association, cutting across all ACRL sections, committees, interest and discussion groups, and communities of practice. The Association will acknowledge and address historical racial inequities; challenge oppressive systems within academic libraries; value different ways of knowing; and identify and work to eliminate barriers to equitable services, spaces, resources, and scholarship.
To support academic librarians and to align ACRL's strategic plan with ALA's Strategic Directions, the ACRL Board of Directors approved, in the fall 2018, a new Core Commitment to Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) to be added to the ACRL Plan for Excellence. The goal of the Core Commitment is for EDI to permeate all areas of the association, so that ACRL is poised to best support equitable, inclusive, and diverse librarianship. Through this commitment, ACRL will acknowledge and address historical racial inequities; challenge oppressive systems within academic libraries; value different ways of knowing; and identify and work to eliminate barriers to equitable services, spaces, resources, and scholarship.
ACRL President Lauren Pressley's President's Program Planning Committee has focused their work on the topic of EDI, and has created an online EDI discussion series blog which is now available on ACRL LibGuides. To continue the discussion, the ACRL President’s Program at the upcoming 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC, entitled Equity, Diversity, Inclusion... and Leadership: Where Do We Go From Here?, will be held on Saturday, June 22, 2019. We hope to see you there!
Incoming ACRL President Karen Munro will continue an EDI focus for her 2020 President's Program. More details on will be shared closer to the 2020 ALA Annual Conference.
ACRL is working to create more welcoming and inclusive environments within its membership groups and member engagement. Since the approval of the Core Commitment, the objectives for all four goal areas, Value of Academic Libraries, Student Learning, Research and Scholarly Environment, and New Roles and Changing Landscapes, have been updated to include EDI. In the spring 2019, the ACRL Diversity Committee was renamed the ACRL Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and a new charge was approved by the ACRL Board of Directors. With this new charge, the ACRL EDI Committee is poised to best support, oversee and coordinate forthcoming EDI initatives.
This cycle, a Board Working Group has been working with the ACRL Appointments Committee to review and make the appointments process more inclusive. Appointments marketing was updated to include more welcoming language on the ACRL volunteer form, webpage, and social media. Members who volunteered for a committee or section appointment had the option to answer several demographics questions. ACRL compiled this data, and ACRL President-elect Karen Munro will share a summary report when the majority of appointments have been completed later this spring. ACRL will continue to include these optional demographics questions, so it can better understand and work to make the appointments process more inclusive.
To support EDI, ACRL has recently developed the ACRL Diversity Alliance. The Diversity Alliance’s goal is to increase the hiring pipeline of qualified and talented individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Since its conception in 2017, the ACRL Diversity Alliance has provided a network for member institutions that commit to at least a two-year diversity residency position at their libraries. There are currently over 40 institutional members of the 2019 Diversity Alliance, and ACRL is looking to grow the program and offer more benefits as it dedicates additional resources to support its new Core Commitment.
ACRL awarded $12,000 in Immersion scholarships to support the participation of six academic and research librarians from under-represented backgrounds or working at under-represented institutions to attend the 2019 Immersion Program.
ACRL awarded $30,710 in ACRL 2019 Conference scholarships to support the participation of 40 academic librarians, support staff, and students from under-represented backgrounds or working at under-represented institutions.
ACRL awarded 13 RBMS 2019 Conference scholarships to support the participation of 13 academic librarians and students from under-represented backgrounds or working at under-represented institutions.
ACRL provided $7,000 to support one ALA Spectrum Scholar in FY19. At Midwinter 2019, the Board approved $7,000 disbursement to fund an additional Spectrum Scholar from the ACRL Friends Advancement Fund in FY20.
ACRL is committed to supporting its Core Commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and is looking to make all aspects of the organization more inclusive. In the coming year, ACRL will continue to offer EDI professional development opportunities for its leaders and members, work to update the 2012 Diversity Standards: Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries, and seek input and guidance from its Board of Directors, members and other key stakeholders to further review its processes and initiatives.
ACRL welcomes input from its members throughout the year. If you have feedback or would like to submit a request to the ACRL Board of Directors, please complete a Board action form. Upcoming Board meeting dates and Board document deadlines will be posted on ALA Connect. Comments and suggestions pertaining to EDI can also be sent to ACRL Program Manager for Strategic Initiatives Allison Payne at email@example.com.
ACRL is active in advocating for policy and legislation through the ALA Washington Office, as well as through coalition work with groups such as the Open Access Working Group and the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) for joint work with ALA and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). To increase ACRL's visibility and influence in the arena of higher education policy development, legislation, and best practices, ACRL speaks out on important issues, including equity, diversity and inclusion. When ACRL signs a letter of support or responds to a request for comments, it is shared through ACRL communication channels, including ACRL Insider, and added to the ACRL Speaks Out webpage.
The ACRL Board of Directors endorsed on August 26, 2019 an American Historical Association (AHA) statement on Domestic Terrorism, Bigotry, and History. The statement notes that “As the largest organization of professional historians in the world, the AHA condemns the recent deployment of histories invented in the interest of bigotry, violence, and division. Many critics of white nationalism have admirably insisted that ‘this is not who we are.’ If the statements of white nationalists do not reflect who Americans are or want to be, they do compose an undeniable part of our collective past. Those aspects of the nation’s heritage should be exposed and overcome, rather than ignored or celebrated. Knowledge of history can help Americans achieve that goal.”
“ACRL wholly supports the American Historical Association’s moving and timely statement on nativism, violence, and history,” said ACRL President Karen Munro of Simon Fraser University. “The sentiments addressed in the statement reflect our Core Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’s focus on acknowledging and addressing historical racial inequities.”
ACRL is one of more than 30 organizations to sign on in support of the AHA statement.
In August 2019, the ACRL Board of Directors approved for ACRL to join eight organizations, institutions, and Native American communities to endorse the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials. The Protocols were developed by nineteen Native American and non-Native American archivists, librarians, museum curators, historians, and anthropologists and published in 2007 with support from the American Library Association Office for Diversity, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the National Library of Medicine, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, The Bay and Paul Foundations, the Northern Arizona University Institute for Native Americans, and Mary and P. David Seaman.
On July 24, 2018, ACRL joined the National Federation of the Blind and eight other library, research and advocacy organizations to express strong support of the passage of the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, S. 2559. The letter states that, “The implementing legislation embodies a consensus approach which balances the need to expand access to information for people who are blind around the world with the responsibility to properly safeguard the interests of rights holders.”
Oversee the Diversity Alliance, serve as champions of the program, build relationships and investigate partnerships with appropriate ACRL and ALA groups, and propose future directions, including governance, to the ACRL Board of Directors.
To oversee and coordinate ACRL’s Core Commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, as described in the strategic plan. Work with the Board and other units to initiate, advise and mobilize support for appropriate action related to issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in academic librarianship—including recruitment, advancement and retention of underrepresented groups to academic and research librarianship and the promotion of library and information services for diverse library users.