BC Libraries' Action Plan, below, was released in September 2020 to begin work
The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group was formed in September 2019 and charged with creating an EDI Action Plan for Boston College Libraries. Based on the EDI Values Statement, adopted by the Libraries in December 2019, the EDI Working Group formed subgroups to create action plans for six key areas: Collections, Healing & Support Groups, Physical Environment, Services, Staff & Leadership Training, and Workforce Recruitment & Retention. Each of these subgroups created a three-year action plan, whose main goals, stakeholders, and immediate resource needs are outlined below.
Beyond these individual areas, the EDI Working Group recommended the formation of a standing EDI Advisory Committee to help oversee and hold accountable all the individual action plans. They are not charged with carrying out the action plans themselves, as active involvement from all library staff at all levels is essential to creating an inclusive work environment. Instead, the EDI Advisory Committee checks on the progress of the action plans and is a staff resource for questions as issues arise.
For any questions about the BC Libraries' EDI initiatives or the status of our action plan, please contact the EDI Advisory Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Collections subgroup considered collection development policies; physical collections; digital collections; and ADA compliance in terms of EDI. The group focused on collection development policies in terms of BCL’s mission and procedures for development and maintenance. Building on that, the group looked at BC’s physical and digital collections in terms of holdings, patron discovery, and maintenance. Finally, the group focused on accessibility in the physical stacks and online.
The Support subgroup considers the retention and well-being of underrepresented staff a priority. The work of healing takes place in many contexts. It is important for majority groups (white people, cis/hetero people, etc) to have places to come together for learning where they can do so without unduly burdening minority groups. It is also important for marginalized groups to have spaces where they can come together as a community for purposes of rest, reflection, healing, and organization.
The Physical Environment subgroup considered the spaces, supplies, equipment, and decor that make up the physical environment of the libraries, seeking to make our locations accessible and welcoming to all. The principles of universal design feature prominently in this group’s recommendations, providing a framework for what accessibility and inclusion looks like beyond ADA compliance.
The Services action plan focuses on evaluating and updating library services to reflect principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. This includes ensuring that services are accessible to users with disabilities, that marginalized groups know about and have the same access and sense of welcome to library services as more dominant groups on campus, and that staff have the training and support needed to implement an equitable service model. All public facing services are considered part of this plan including: in-person service points, digital services, instruction, institutional repositories, technology, exhibits, events, and marketing/outreach.
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion is a constitutive element of lifelong learning culture and therefore is an essential part of library service at Boston College. It is an invitation to better understand and respond to the challenges of racism and discrimination facing our colleagues, patrons, and the wider community in which we serve. This group was tasked with developing a training plan for staff and leadership that reflects this value, and serves the needs of the Boston College Libraries’ community as part of an integrated and cohesive EDI Action Plan.
The subgroup considered the following options closely in developing the below recommendations: Learning opportunities, developing a curated resource list and calendar of events; consideration of leadership and staff needs, accommodating varying levels of hierarchy, individuals’ understanding of and place within their EDI journey; and providing equitable access to professional development opportunities.
EDI in recruitment and retention covers the entire career path of library employees, and efforts to make it real should include the whole organization. It is necessary to make our commitment to EDI visible to candidates before they apply and throughout the hiring process and their employment. After an inventory and assessment of best practices, the group has made recommendations touching hiring committees, interviewing, job descriptions, active recruiting of staff and students, job postings, mentoring, support and career development for current employees, including tech support and flexible work arrangements. This is not an exhaustive list, but attempts to address all of the areas mentioned in the charge.
Many of the recommendations are procedural and can be done quickly. The group feels the most critical recommendations are: