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Magazine Honors Libraries’ DEI Commitment

By University Libraries Staff

The University of Maryland Libraries was named a recipient of the Library Excellence in Access and Diversity (LEAD) Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine, honoring academic libraries that encourage and support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in areas including research, technology, accessibility, exhibitions and community outreach.

UMD Libraries was selected from more than 150 applicants to be part of an inaugural cohort of 56 institutional awardees who will be recognized in the magazine’s March 2024 issue.

“This national recognition affirms the dedication of our library faculty and staff to living our values of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, and the meaningful progress we are making to advance our goals, which will benefit our entire campus and the broader community,” said Libraries Dean Adriene Lim.

In 2021, the Libraries invested in a new DEI officer position; Nneka Chisholm serves as a liaison between the Libraries and campus diversity initiatives, responds to DEI issues, advocates for underrepresented groups, and collaborates with faculty and staff in the libraries to advance equity and inclusion.

The Libraries prioritizes accessibility in physical and virtual environments and works closely with the campus Accessibility and Disability Service and the President’s Commission on Disability Issues to evaluate and adopt new accessibility policies and practices. Work is underway to transcribe a curated collection of video materials for audio and closed captioning.

In addition, the newly established Fisher Family Library Faculty Fellows for Inclusive Excellence program will provide valuable experience and mentorship for two early-career librarians with diverse backgrounds.

The Libraries is a leader of The 1856 Project, the university’s chapter of Universities Studying Slavery, a multi-institutional and international consortium dedicated to sharing best practices for reckoning with the role that human bondage has played in establishing and sustaining their institutions, as well as of Project STAND (STudent Activism Now Documented). It concentrates on documenting, through both analog and digital primary sources, the activities of student groups representing the concerns of historically marginalized communities.

The Libraries also has an Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Committee, a team of staff and faculty librarians co-led by the DEI officer that plans cultural workshops, events, training programs, traveling exhibits and heritage month celebrations.

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