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VIVA: Member Spotlight EDI: Marymount University

Virginia's Academic Library Consortium

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Approaches to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: 

Marymount University


December, 2021


What would you like to share about EDI work done at your library or at your institution?

A significant measure at Marymount is providing equity through access to resources.  The library collects and makes available required textbooks on reserve, and we provide access to a variety of technologies that promote learning but are sometimes financially out of reach for students; we offer laptops, calculators, graphing calculators, extension cables, etc.  When the university moved to remote learning in the spring of 2020, Marymount's libraries partnered with information technology services to supply and track lending of laptops to students who did not have access to computing devices at home.

Marymount libraries have engaged in library displays featuring diversity, including Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, LGBTQIA Pride Week, Native American History Month, Women's History Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.We collaborated with the Center for Global Engagement on a local activism guide and with the Center for Career Services for film screenings during Asian Pacific Heritage Month. A library staff member was asked to participate on a university-wide diversity & inclusion committee, and the university librarian co-created new university-wide hiring protocols for faculty hires to ensure diverse search pools as well as inclusive and equitable hires. Marymount is a "majority minority" campus and has created a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center, and has been selected by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to host a new Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center.

What are your library and/or institutional plans for future EDI efforts?

As part of the Washington Research Library Consortium, Marymount is collaborating with our partner institutions on a reparative cataloging project to correct offensive and harmful subject headings. Specifically at our libraries, we are revising our collection development policy to emphasize diversifying voices represented in the collection, both as authors and as subjects. We are also shifting toward favoring purchases from smaller publishers, which often excel at making available works from diverse and traditionally marginalized persons and perspectives. We have supported the university's DEI committee through their book club, and we are working with that committee as it explores Marymount's history related to race relations and diversity, using the University Archives collections. A project on the horizon is collaborating with two faculty members and two different cultural heritage institutions to make available historical records on racially-driven land covenants and restrictions.

The past 18 months have held many challenges and changes. How have you grown and learned to do things better? Were there initiatives that didn’t go as you had planned or things you would do differently in the future?

The university already had some online courses and programs, so we were not new to virtual circulation and reference services, but we had to rapidly expand those and then enhance them to best support online and hybrid learners. We also had to learn how to create virtual outreach that was broadly accessible using various social media platforms. For library instruction, we had to counteract our assumptions about students' capacity to learn online (i.e. not all students have adequate internet access or devices conducive to remote learning). This prompted the creation of a web-based online research log, accessible from a wide variety of devices, that is now a standard practice in our teaching, both online and in person, for first-year composition courses, and has been well-received by students and faculty alike.