This semester, the UWM Libraries launched a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Plan to guide our work as we seek to be more intentional in our efforts to create a safe and welcoming environment for everyone at UWM. The plan is the result of nearly ten months of discussions involving library staff and campus stakeholders. The final plan is posted on our website at https://uwm.edu/libraries/about/dei-plan/.
The Libraries’ plan has four goals:
- Provide a radically welcoming environment.
- Recruit and recruit and retain a diverse library staff.
- Enhance library collections and programs in support of UWM’s teaching, learning, and research mission.
- Build cultural competencies among library staff by increasing diversity awareness and sensitivity.
The plan aligns with UWM’s strong commitment to ensure that everyone who steps foot on one of our campuses has the right to be safe, respected, and valued.
In June 2020, Director of Libraries Michael Doylen charged the Diversity Committee, chaired by Tiffany Thornton, Outreach & Community Engagement Librarian, to develop a plan that would set inspiring and broad goals relating to every aspect of the Libraries’ work–collections, services, programs and exhibits, employee recruitment and staff development—as well as attainable action items to focus efforts and mark progress.
Development of the plan was coordinated by Thornton; Heidi Anoszko, Instructional Design Librarian; Ann Hanlon, Head, Digital Collections & Initiatives; and Shawn Hazelwood, HR Business Partner. About one-third of the Libraries’ staff across all three UWM campuses contributed ideas and suggestions.
The Libraries’ administrative leadership, the Provost, and the University Libraries Committee reviewed the plan, improving it and lending their support.
“The values of diversity, equity, and inclusion are deeply woven into librarianship, and the UWM Libraries have long demonstrated our commitment to them in our work. Through this plan, we strive to be more deliberate and intentional in our efforts,” says Doylen. “We want to make a DEI mindset second nature to everything we do and lay a foundation for future directions.”
“The Libraries have a special role to play in advancing UWM’s DEI goals,” Doylen says. “We want the Libraries to be an outstanding example of an organization that is always improving and promoting an inclusive, respectful, and equitable environment for the UWM community.”
An internal version of the plan includes staff assignments and timelines to ensure accountability. The Libraries look forward to sharing news about our progress in the months ahead.