Library Diversity Council

Library employees who join our Library Diversity Council work to advance our mission by providing leadership, support, and development opportunities across all levels of the library and the broader community in areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. As a group, they:

  • Organize, support, and lead activities to increase awareness and promote understanding about diversity issues, and foster cultural competence among library employees.
  • Work in partnership with library administration to advance the library’s goals relating to DEIA.
  • Serve as a resource for library staff on DEIA concerns.
  • Promote the library as a resource that supports the U-M community by demonstrating the value that diversity brings to everyday life and to the academic experience.
  • Collaborate with individuals and organizations on a regional, national, and international level (as appropriate) to support a thriving climate for diversity.

The council recognizes library employees who advocate for diversity through our annual awards.

What do we mean by diversity?

All individuals are diverse in some ways, and library staff must respect and welcome everyone, not just specific groups. Equality requires effort, resources, and commitment.

Our definition of diversity

Diversity is all the characteristics that can be used to describe humans. The unique intersections of these characteristics define each individual’s diversity. A few examples of these characteristics include:

age | cognitive style | economic background | gender | languages spoken | nationality | politics | religion | ancestry | cultural background | ethnicity | geographic background | marital status | physical ability | physical appearance | race | sexual orientation

Diversity means all of us

To create a welcoming and respectful environment and organizational culture within the library, we must not assume that people who have characteristics different than our own necessarily have the same needs, experiences, and points of view that we do. At the same time, we must not make the assumption that "they" are all the same.

We must expand our definition of diversity to include all of us, where the emphasis is on how we as individuals can all contribute to a diverse workplace.

Issues of equity

We must recognize that not everyone faces the same consequences for their diversity. We can’t forget that issues of difference are closely tied to issues of power and discrimination. Issues of equity are inseparable from issues of diversity. Individuals are judged by how they fit into the characteristics outlined above. Equality requires effort, resources, and commitments to both structural change and continuing education.

Diversity is not just about numbers. It requires profound structural and cultural change. We will not succeed in creating a truly diverse environment until every individual feels valued and respected, and that their point of view and experiences are important to the workings of the organization.

History

The library has a long history of actively engaging in diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility work. The Library Diversity Council morphed from an initial Diversity Task Force that formed in 1985.

Council membership

Twelve council members are elected for three-year terms, and up to two members are appointed by the dean of libraries. 

Questions? Contact the Library Diversity Council at librarydiversity@umich.edu.

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