INTRODUCTION

The University of Georgia Libraries, including the University of Georgia Press and The Georgia Review, support the University’s core values with respect to diversity and inclusion. We strive to create an environment of acceptance and respect in which all students, faculty, staff, and visitors feel welcomed and included at the University of Georgia. Education at a university occurs in more settings than classrooms and with more individuals than students. Libraries are often described as the heart of an academic community, a characterization that continues to be valid in an increasingly digital age. Therefore, it is especially important that the UGA Libraries embody and uphold the University’s commitment to diversity.

Our understanding of diversity includes, but is not limited to, groups defined by race, nationality, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, language, religion, neurodiversity, disability and/or health status, gender identity/expression, veteran status, geographic origin, and socioeconomic status.

We also acknowledge the complexity of every person and the reality of multiple overlapping identities. Diversity extends beyond definitions of personal differences to include attitudes, speech, demeanor, actions, work roles, and past experiences. It is also important to note that the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) does not separate the ideal of diversity from the equally important ideals of equity, inclusion, and access, defined as follows for the purpose of our work:

Diversity is all the ways that people are different and the same at the individual and group levels. Even when people appear the same, they are different. Organizational diversity requires examining and questioning the makeup of a group to ensure that multiple perspectives are represented.

Inclusion refers to the intentional, ongoing effort to ensure that diverse individuals fully participate in all aspects of organizational work, including decision-making processes. It also refers to the ways that diverse participants are valued as respected members of an organization and/or community.

Equity is the fair and just treatment of all members of a community. Equity requires commitment to strategic priorities, resource development and utilization, respect, civility, and the application of historical knowledge, as well as ongoing action and assessment of progress toward achieving specified goals.

Accessibility is giving equitable access to everyone along the continuum of human ability and experience. Accessibility encompasses the broader meanings of compliance and refers to how organizations make space for the characteristics that each person brings.

The healthiest workplace is one that provides a safe, positive, and nurturing environment in which differences may be acknowledged, explored, respected, and embraced, an environment where commonality then arises through dedication to a shared mission rather than through individual uniformity. The UGA Libraries are committed to creating an inclusive community grounded in respect and appreciation for all individuals who work in any location of the UGA Libraries.

The UGA Libraries’ Diversity Plan provides the basis to foster and support a culture of diversity and inclusion within the UGA Libraries’ workforce, collections, and services to users. The UGA Libraries’ Diversity Plan is an evolving document: as initial goals are achieved, others will be developed based on ongoing assessment of progress. The UGA Libraries’ Committee on Diversity and Inclusion will conduct a yearly assessment of the plan, making appropriate updates. The University Librarian and Associate Provost will include the UGA Libraries’ major accomplishments in reaching our diversity goals in the annual report to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

 

GOALS

To expedite this plan, the University Librarian and Associate Provost, Deputy University Librarian, and the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion along with all faculty and staff commit themselves to achieving the following goals:

  1. Make diversity and inclusion an integral part of the UGA Libraries’ stated mission, goals, including departmental goals, and strategic plan.
  2. Enhance and sustain a climate in the UGA Libraries that values and welcomes diversity and inclusion.
  3. Recruit, retain, and support advancement opportunities for a more diverse faculty and staff.
  4. Integrate diverse/multicultural perspectives into the UGA Libraries’ outreach activities and instruction sessions and the publishing work of the University of Georgia Press, the Georgia Review, and any other publications of the Libraries.
  5. Enhance the diversification of the UGA Libraries’ holdings in support of the University’s research, teaching, and service mission.
  6. Provide universal design and accessibility to UGA Libraries’ facilities and holdings by enhancing both intellectual and physical accessibilities that nurture and support academic success for our diverse community.

Progress towards the goals of this diversity plan will be measured by increases in areas including the following:

  • Diversity and inclusion awareness and engagement programs and activities in the UGA Libraries
  • Historically underrepresented groups among faculty and staff applicant pools at all levels
  • Partnerships and collaborations both on and off campus that promote and enhance diversity and inclusion in the UGA Libraries
  • Orientation sessions for and new collaborations with diverse groups; exhibits that promote the multiplicity of our collections; and continuing education programs for UGA Libraries’ staff and faculty
  • Evaluations of library holdings targeted to identify areas where greater collection support for diversity may be needed, and additional funding to build up any identified areas of weakness
  • The number of wheelchair accessible public services desks and disability awareness and adaptive technology training sessions for employees
     

Goal #1: Make diversity and inclusion an integral part of the UGA libraries’ stated mission, goals, including departmental goals, and strategic plan.

Short-Term Initiatives:

  • Whenever there is a new library mission statement, diversity and inclusion should be a formal part of the mission/vision statement.
  • Sustain the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion as a standing committee of the Libraries, Press, and Review to serve as an ongoing, organization-wide body.
  • Include the UGA Libraries’ Diversity Plan goals in the next five-year strategic plan.
  • Conduct an internal survey to identify problems and to determine where we are and what we should be working on.

Long-Term Initiatives:

  • Conduct a biannual internal survey; share the survey report with employees.
  • Cultivate diversity in holdings at the Libraries in general.
  • Advocate for the creation of an authoritative position responsible for diversity and inclusion efforts in the Libraries, or add these significant responsibilities to an existing position.
  • Submit progress reports on diversity and inclusion as part of annual individual department head reports to the University Librarian
  • Create deadlines, benchmarks, and measurements to effect change and hold others accountable.
     

Goal #2: Enhance and sustain a climate in the UGA Libraries that values and welcomes diversity and inclusion.

Short-Term Initiatives:

  • Explore and recommend library-/department-specific training.
  • Require search committee chairs to participate in diversity and inclusion training.
  • Include diversity- and inclusion-related programs as a part of the Libraries, Press, and Review annual fundraising goals.
  • Showcase and promote the diversity of UGA Libraries' employees through programs and publications throughout the organization.

Long-Term Initiatives:

  • Build a framework to facilitate participation in diversity and inclusion training and programming for all library employees.
  • Require hiring authorities for all employees, including student workers, to participate in diversity and inclusion training.
  • Ensure membership on fundraising boards is representative of the University, community, and region.
  • Archive, retain, and make public the work of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Hold forums and discussions that feature participants from diverse communities that encourage employees to ask questions and improve their knowledge of other cultures, backgrounds, and abilities/physical needs.
  • Identify and collaborate with other campus groups with similar missions—e.g., College of Education, Franklin College, Office of Institutional Diversity, Multicultural Affairs, institute on Human Development, Diversity and Disability Resource Center.
     

Goal #3: Recruit, retain, and support advancement opportunities for a more diverse faculty and staff.

Recruitment

Short-Term Initiatives:

  • Expand advertising budget and channels to make job postings more discoverable by diverse audiences.
  • Compile list of free/inexpensive places to post including social media.
  • Include diversity and inclusion language in all job descriptions.
  • Investigate existing residency/fellowship models or similar opportunities for a minority librarian based on the UGA Press Mellon UP Diversity Fellowship model.

Long-Term Initiatives:

  • Develop a program for promoting the UGA Libraries, the UGA Press, and the Georgia Review as a career destination for students from underrepresented groups.
  • Develop relationships with multicultural student organizations and Athens community organizations to promote the UGA Libraries, the UGA Press, and the Georgia Review as a place to work.
  • Establish residencies and fellowships focusing on diversity at the Libraries, Press, and Review.

Retention and Advancement

Short-Term Initiatives:

  • Promote the UGA Libraries’ Faculty’s participation in the Diverse Faculty Mentoring Program offered by Office of Institutional Diversity.
  • Incorporate a diversity issues session into the UGA Libraries Supervisor Training.

Long-Term Initiatives:

  • Recommend the OID Diverse Faculty Mentoring Program as part of the UGA Libraries’ onboarding process.
  • Seek out opportunities from national and regional programs to meet diversity and inclusion goals—e.g., ACRL’s Diversity Alliance Resident Librarian program, ARL, SELA, GLA resources, and the Society of American Archivists.
  • Continue diversity education and programs of the CDI as a way of creating a supportive environment for a diverse staff, including exploring the creation of a UGA Libraries’ diverse staff mentoring program.
     

Goal #4: Integrate diverse/multicultural perspectives into the UGA Libraries’ outreach activities and instruction sessions and the publishing work of the University of Georgia Press, the Georgia Review, and any other publications of the Libraries.

Short-Term Initiatives:

  • Conduct an inventory of outreach initiatives to identify strengths and weaknesses and inform growth.
  • Conduct an inventory of diversity and representation with regard to authors, editors, peer reviewers, topics, and outreach via conferences and marketing by the UGA Press and the Georgia Review.
  • Partner with CCSD, K–12, career fair, and application (college or job) assistance programs.
  • Work with the University regarding access to technology for school groups.

Long-Term Initiatives:

  • Increase the number of partnerships in the Athens community.
  • Develop public-facing programs as needed/appropriate.
  • Create programming that broadens access to library materials.
     

Goal #5: Enhance the diversification of the UGA Libraries’ holdings in support of the University’s research, teaching, and service missions.

Short-Term Initiatives:

  • Sustain collection practices designed to maximize diversity.
  • Actively solicit special collections from traditionally underrepresented groups.
  • Investigate ways to determine strengths and weaknesses within the collection.
  • Revise the Libraries’ collection development policy to make more explicit our commitment to building and maintaining collections that support diversity.

Long-Term Initiatives:

  • Monitor establishment of new majors and degree programs to determine if the UGA Libraries’ collections are adequate.
  • Review subject guides and other collection support documents to make any needed changes to increase diversity of access.
     

Goal #6: Provide universal design and accessibility to UGA Libraries’ facilities and holdings by enhancing both intellectual and physical accessibilities that nurture and support academic success for our diverse community.

Short-Term Initiatives:

  • Regularly review the UGA Libraries' buildings, web content, service policies, position descriptions, and literature to make them accessible to people with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act; engage outside consultants to evaluate facilities.
  • Increase expertise in adaptive technology within the UGA Libraries.
  • Provide training to all UGA Libraries' employees to foster individual responsibility for maintenance of a supportive and safe working and learning environment; review disaster and building plans with disabilities in mind.
  • Hold forums and discussions that allow UGA Libraries' staff to ask questions and to improve their knowledge of and service to people with disabilities (e.g., via the Disability Resource Center).
  • Public service points should offer an accessible point of service at all libraries.

Long-Term Initiatives:

  • Attain 100% compliance per section 508 for websites and electronically mediated collections; strive for WCAG 2.0 web compliance.
  • Attain 100% ADA compliance for all facilities.
  • Include accessibility needs in budget planning.
  • Provide training to relevant UGA Libraries' employees in awareness of what adaptive technology can do.
  • Work with content providers and vendors to make their materials accessible and to expand awareness about accessibility issues for purchased or licensed information resources.
  • Collaborate with groups that serve, or produce or distribute content for, people with disabilities.
  • Promote an inclusive and supportive workplace culture for recruiting and retaining faculty and staff with disabilities.
  • Develop and implement ongoing staff training to improve staff members’ abilities to provide excellent service, especially with regard to primary language barriers and physical/mental disabilities.
  • Work with focus groups of people with disabilities to identify issues related to access, collection content, work environment, and programming.


7/22/2019