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Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

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Action Plan

Overview

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 along with a link to each individual action plan.

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 bcl-edi-group-ggroup@bc.edu

Collections

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.

Goals

  • Year 1: Establish several small working groups--including a standing subcommittee, and start doing full environmental scans of EDI related issues.
  • Year 2: External evaluation of Libraries for accessibility.
  • Year 3: Ongoing EDI-related development of the collection building off of prior work.

EDI Supporting Groups

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.

Goals

  • Year 1: Recruit and train facilitators, build the framework for the support groups, and assess for existing needs and level of success.
  • Year 2: Utilize assessment data and adjust accordingly

Physical Environment

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.

Goals

  • Year 1: Form departmental assessment working groups to complete EDI assessment and establish priorities.
  • Year 2: Address top priorities as determined by assessment.
  • Year 3: Address secondary priorities as determined by assessment.

Services

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.

Goals

  • Year 1: Each service owner assesses service with the provided assessment tool and creates a two year working plan based on that assessment. Student Advisory Committee formed.
  • Year 2: Service owners begin work on their drafted working plan
  • Year 3: Service owners complete work on their drafted working plan

Staff & Leadership Training

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.

Goals

  • Year 1: Form Training Subcommittee and implement recommendations regarding staff and leadership training identified through Spring 2021. These include development of a comprehensive training plan for staff; identifying and implementing leadership and management specific training(s); and ULAC developing individual area training initiatives. Begin development of assessment tool.
  • Year 2: Administer assessment tool to library staff and leadership, and adjust training programs as necessary.
  • Year 3: Continue to administer and further develop formalized training program. Be responsive to changing needs and lessons learned from assessment.

Workforce Recruitment & Retention

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:

  1. Rethinking or removing the requirement for the MLS in job postings. For positions that currently require it, this might mean hiring an employee with alternative education or skills/experience and investing in the degree.
  2. Actively recruiting for diversity through partnerships inside and outside Boston College.
  3. Establishing internal advancement pathways, including student positions. This would entail hiring people with the intention of investing in them, and planning professional development around anticipated needs.

Goals:

  • Year 1: Establish a structure to a) improve the process of staff advancement and b) promote traditionally underrepresented groups from within; create a more equitable and inclusive hiring process for both staff and student workers; and train managers so they can enforce EDI values.
  • Year 2: Revise library peer selection process, begin establishing internal “apprenticeship” program, review historic job postings for EDI, reenvision a portion of student jobs as development opportunities, review technology budget from an equity perspective.
  • Year 3: Complete work begun on staff “apprenticeship” program, ensure implementation of Year 1 and Year 2 goals.