Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Very Draft Plan to Diversify Library Employees

This is a very much a work in progress. Long, slow progress. (Yay, shared governance, everything goes through multiple committees - and the committee assigned to work on this has just been given tentative approval to exist.) Updates will come when I have them, which might be a while. In the meantime, if you have suggestions, please drop me a note in the comments or on twitter.

Program Review recommendation: Develop a concrete plan to diversify library employees 

In order to respond thoughtfully to PR recommendations, we're going through a process of exploring how each recommendation might benefit students and the institution; possible methods of implementation; and possible timelines. Much of this will be expressed in neoliberal terms, because that's how the game is played. And while this may be a sign that I'm not #radlib enough, I am very willing to play the game if it might lead to progress.

Rationale of how this recommendation might benefit students: By having a more ethnically diverse staff, students of color will see people like themselves in positions of authority and feel like they belong. Many people of color have a different lived experience in the US than white people do; they can bring useful perspectives to how we provide service for all users.

You'll notice the rationale explicitly says ethnic diversity. That was the implication the program reviewers gave during face to face conversation, but wasn't explicit in the final report. Because people are afraid to name ... whiteness? color? I'm not sure, but I felt it was important to be explicit about that, because I've noticed that we white people often think diversity means people who are differently white.

Long list of organizational goals and priorities this recommendation supports. I'll spare you.

Campus areas to consult: Institutional Diversity, Human Resources, whatever the office of Affirmative Action is now called

Library group leading this work: Create a sub-group of our library administrative* committee that includes members from our librarian professional development committee, our paraprofessional staff committee, and our library diversity committee.

Implementation plan: (1) create sub-group, (2) review literature and see how other libraries and other organizations were (or weren't) successful in diversifying staff, (3) begin internal training about unconscious bias in hiring, supervising, and retaining diverse employees, (4) get permission to hire people, I guess? This needs some work!

Timeline: Spring 2016: Clarify priority level, talk with campus units to make sure what we're doing is legal and in accordance with union contracts, and review the plan during spring 2016. Fall 2016: Form sub-group at the beginning of the semester.

Starter bibliography (to tie it in with the rest of this blog)

*administrative isn't the right word, but it's the closest I can get without explaining our weird organizational structure

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