The UWM Libraries are committed to providing a radically welcoming environment, both on-site and online, for our students, faculty, staff, and others. We believe that the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion are fundamental to fulfilling UWM’s dual mission of access and research excellence.
Guided by cultural humility, we strive to create welcoming spaces and services. We work to ensure, through equitable hiring practices and staff development, a diverse and culturally competent workplace that values mutual respect and safety.
We value diversity in all of its forms, including who we are, how we think, and what we do. We strive to create a sense of belonging for all people, including those who have been historically underrepresented at UWM.
We believe that all Libraries’ employees have a responsibility to assure that our values are reflected in our work. The Libraries’ diversity, equity, and inclusion plan acknowledges this shared responsibility, as we pursue with urgency four broad goals with clear and measurable actions.
- 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
- Ensure a radically welcoming and inclusive environment
Goals and Action Items
Goal 1: Recruit and Retain a Diverse Library Staff
Initiative 1: Increase the number of applicants from diverse backgrounds.
- Action 1: Investigate advertising budget and channels to increase discoverability of job postings by diverse populations.
- Action 2: Develop list of free/inexpensive places to post, including social media.
- Action 3: Post the Libraries’ diversity statement in job postings alongside UWM’s Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity statement.
Initiative 2: Promote equity in job searches.
- Action 1: Encourage all search and screen committee members to complete UWM’s DEI Racial Justice and Equity Training and/or other relevant training opportunities.
- Action 2: Investigate development of a rubric that assesses a candidate’s commitment to antiracism, racial justice, and inclusion of marginalized populations.
Initiative 3: Improve diversity among student employee hires.
- Action 1: Develop relationships with UWM multicultural student centers to promote the UWM Libraries as a great place to work.
Initiative 4: Improve the library mentorship program for new staff by establishing DEI goals and expectations.
- Action 1: Formally define benchmarks and expectations for the current mentor program.
- Action 2: Develop training materials for mentors.
Initiative 5: Ensure that student employees understand opportunities for advancement and pay increases.
- Action 1: Update student employee documentation and ensure it is shared during the onboarding process.
Goal 2: Enhance the Diversity of Library Collections and Programs in Support of UWM’s Teaching, Learning, and Research Mission
Initiative 1: Revise collection development policies; enhance the diversity of library collections; remove outdated and offensive language in library descriptions.
- Action 1: Revise collection development policies to emphasize our commitment to acquiring and maintaining diverse and inclusive collections that support UWM’s research, teaching, and service needs.
- Action 2: Revisit “Potentially Offensive Materials” policy for Digital Collections to ensure clear guidelines for action and higher visibility of policy.
- Action 3: Investigate ways to identify collection strengths and weaknesses related to diversity.
- Action 4: Investigate options to remove offensive and outdated language in library subject headings and other descriptions (e.g., replace “illegal aliens” with “undocumented immigrants”).
Initiative 2: Ensure that outreach activities and communications align with our diversity, equity, and inclusion values.
- Action 1: Review library programs for diversity, equity, and inclusion values.
- Action 2: Create and promote exhibits that highlight diversity in our collections.
- Action 3: Focus on DEI-related initiatives in Libraries’ communications.
Goal 3: Build Cultural Competencies Among Library Staff by Increasing Diversity Awareness and Sensitivity
Initiative 1: Inform staff about DEI training opportunities, encourage them to participate, and solicit their feedback.
- Action 1: Develop a workflow for communication and staff engagement with training opportunities and debriefings.
- Action 2: Identify DEI training opportunities (one per term) that support the development and growth of all staff, including students.
- Action 3: Develop and implement a staff survey to assess employee (including student employee) needs and preferences for DEI training and development.
Initiative 2: Identify approaches for incorporating DEI-related goals into the workplace culture and accountability practices of the UWM Libraries.
- Action 1: Research the goal setting and accountability practices of peer libraries, including individual goal setting and administrative accountability.
- Action 2: Identify ways to incorporate DEI into employee position descriptions, annual goals, and performance evaluations.
Initiative 3: Develop and maintain a repository of current DEI literature and professional development materials.
- Action 1: Create and maintain a MS Teams site and SharePoint repository for collecting professional development materials.
- Action 2: Regularly communicate updates to resources to library staff.
- Action 3: Maintain a citation management site accessible to all staff for the collection and organization of current LIS and higher education literature related to DEI.
Goal 4: Ensure a Radically Welcoming and Inclusive Environment
Initiative 1: Increase the accessibility of building signage and event planning resources.
- Action 1: In partnership with campus stakeholders and library facilities management, develop accessibility checklist and audit physical spaces.
- Action 2: Establish a calendar of cultural holidays to help staff plan programs.
- Action 3: Create mechanism or centralized repository of accessible signage for all on-site events.
- Action 4: Increase collaboration and outreach for on-site programming and services with centers and other campus partners to engage multicultural students.
Initiative 2: Identify innovative uses of physical spaces to support the diverse needs of our students.
- Action 1: Investigate creating a meditation room for students.
Initiative 3: Investigate opportunities to improve navigation of physical spaces.
- Action 1: In partnership with campus and library facilities management, update building maps and wayfinding resources in the building. Ensure resources are accessible in person and via the library website.
Initiative 4: Develop accessibility training opportunities for website content managers.
- Action 1: Implement mandatory training for staff with WordPress editing rights to ensure greater accessibility of web pages.
- Action 2: Create yearly workshops for staff to edit owned pages and guides.
Initiative 5: Increase visibility and access to DEI information and resources in virtual spaces.
- Action 1: Review, update, and ensure easier access to User Rights and Responsibilities form.
- Action 2: Prominently display DEI initiatives (multicultural services) on homepage.
Initiative 6: In support of multicultural student needs, review current data and identify additional methods to assess physical and virtual spaces.
- Action 1: Create student focus groups to assess the user experience of multicultural students.
- Action 2: Partner with multicultural student centers to improve library support for students.