Week 67: Advancing DIBAR at Countway

For the past several years, academic communities have been making efforts and investments to educate their faculty and staff about the necessity for diversity and the advantages of attracting a diverse workforce. However, libraries including academic medical libraries, have until recently lacked intentional plans to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in their collections, staff and spaces.

Countway Library staff have begun the DIBAR journey. The CAT (Countway Admin Team) has expressed commitment to the ideals of diversity equity and inclusion through  the development of a library-wide Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging and Anti-Racism (DIBAR) plan and the formation of a Countway DIBAR Taskforce. CAT is determined to move from planning to action and in developing DIBAR training and activities that are meaningful, long lasting and impactful. In order to achieve effective outcomes, we need the help and knowledge of experts.

Two of our medical librarian colleagues, Shannon Jones and Beverly Murphy, authors of the book Diversity in Libraries, have been doing the hard work of DIBAR and exacting meaningful change at their institutions and in the Medical Library Association. Shannon and Beverly have agreed to offer us their expertise, insights and advice during the month of July. Shannon and Beverly will help us refine our Countway DIBAR plan and develop relevant staff training.

A schedule of their visits and what we hope to accomplish with Shannon and Beverly follows:

  • 7/7 - 11 am to noon; CAT and Countway DIBAR teams meet together to review and revise the Countway Diversity plan using the notes/feedback from the staff meeting where plan was first discussed
  • 7/15 - 10:00-11:00; CAT and Countway DIBAR team meeting with Shannon and Beverly to plan an all-staff session
  • 7/21 - 11am-noon; CAT and Countway DIBAR team meet to finalize all staff session details and agenda
  • 7/27 - 11am-noon; ALL STAFF Session with Shannon and Beverly

Our all-staff session with Shannon and Beverly on July 27th will be on Zoom and provide us all with a baseline for the theories and concepts of diversity and inclusion, what these mean for libraries and why they are important. It will serve as our kick-off event as we embark as a library on our DIBAR journey. We are fortunate to have Shannon and Beverly serve as our expert facilitators. An outlook meeting proposal will be sent in order to mark your calendars and I encourage you to attend this informative session.