This week’s post was written by Lauren Pressley. This will be our final post in this blog series, and serves to conclude and reflect on the work we have done. Thank you to all the readers of this blog, for discussing EDI in academic libraries with us over these past months.
The ACRL President’s Program provides an opportunity for the current ACRL president to address a library issue of professional interest that may benefit the field. The program has traditionally involved an event at the ALA Annual Conference. Readers of this blog know that my President’s Program Committee supplemented this event with an additional discussion forum at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and a series of blog posts to facilitate conversation throughout the year focusing on organizational change in support of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI).
This theme is personally important to me, but is also a focus for ACRL. As the higher education association for librarians, 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 by acknowledging and addressing historical racial inequities; challenging oppressive systems within academic libraries; valuing different ways of knowing; and identifying and working to eliminate barriers to equitable services, spaces, resources, and scholarship.
We lived this commitment in a number of ways during my term in office. The theme of the ACRL 2019 conference, “Recasting the Narrative,” directly supported our core commitment, offering featured programming throughout the conference on EDI issues. The conference included its first land acknowledgment and provided a variety of EDI resources on the conference website and onsite in Cleveland. We have also made changes to the ACRL committee appointment process to make it more transparent and inclusive. We are continually seeking ways to build a more equitable and inclusive association through providing training for association leaders, elevating diverse voices and perspectives, and revising systems and processes to be more equitable and inclusive.
The President’s Program Committee facilitated this powerful blog, which featured posts on topics such as engaging HBCUs, EDI in LIS education, EDI in Community Colleges, and more. I want to express deep appreciation to the featured authors who shared their expertise and knowledge in order to foster conversations to grow a more equitable and inclusive profession.
I am grateful for the work of this Committee, chaired by Rebecca Miller Waltz. Rebecca, Hallie Clawson, Nastasha Elizabeth Johnson, Leo Lo, Rachel Rubin, and Jason Sokoloff committed to engaging membership in an ongoing conversation about organizational change in support of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and found ways to weave this conversation into programming at the Midwinter and Annual conferences as highlighted in previous posts. ACRL staff, especially Megan R. Griffin and David Free, have been important partners in this work as well. I owe a debt of gratitude to this team, and would like to especially thank Hallie Clawson who has served as a member and as a special project assistant to me throughout my term.
It has been a pleasure, and the honor of my career, to serve as ACRL president. The association, though its members, is doing significant and meaningful work and I know that this drive towards embodying EDI will continue. Though I’ll be doing so from a different role in the field, I look forward to sustained conversation and continuing this work in support of making our field a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive community for our students, faculty, staff, library colleagues, and communities.
ACRL Past President 2019-2020
Director of the UW Tacoma Library and Associate Dean of University Libraries
University of Washington, Tacoma