The ARLIS/NA Diversity and Inclusion Committee is proud to announce the creation of a Diversity Toolkit: useful links to critical journal articles, books, interviews, and much more. 

Inspiration and impetus to establish the Toolkit began with the Committee Chair’s desire to examine issues that hinder equity in the hiring of librarians of color, in turn leading to the provision of educational resources that illuminate hindrances and offer solutions. Additionally, these resources are meant to remove excuses and hold key decision makers accountable for organizational lags in equity. Support for this effort became even more necessary after the distribution of a survey to Diversity Forum participants. Responses to the survey indicated a desire to further develop education and understanding around equity, inclusion, and social justice within the field of librarianship, with broad emphases around categories such as inclusive hiring and retention, leadership, workspaces, and collections.

Diversity Toolkit
Resources to help art librarians make their workplaces more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
Workspaces (coming soon)
The ARLIS/NA Diversity Toolkit landing page from The Art of Diversity blog.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries and various cultural institutions have had to navigate ongoing concerns fueled by systemic racism and bias. These concerns became even more acute as the pandemic wore on, arising in various scenarios such as: wage disparities and isolation for front-line staff at service points versus other administrative and/or remote workers; harm-reduction, particularly for Black, Indigenous, and person of color library workers asked to report on-site under difficult working conditions; and the creation of actionable solidarity statements against racial violence that do more than pay lip service. Indeed, in the ARLIS/NA Diversity & Inclusion Committee, there was a strong desire to convene and share proven practices that would go further than merely express values of equity, inclusion, and justice. These convictions led to the creation of the Diversity Toolkit. 

A subcommittee, co-facilitated by Carla-Mae Crookendale and Natisha Harper and working closely with Alex Watkins and Heather Slania, came together virtually over the past eight months to gather, research, review, and organize the toolkit. Resources were incorporated based on how they offered practical solutions relevant to art libraries on the following broad areas of interest:

  • Promotion of diversity in library workforce
  • Creation of inclusive workspaces for library staff
  • Cultivation of inclusive collections for library users
  • Continuing education on issues related to equity, inclusion, and belonging

Resources were also evaluated to ensure that they could be applicable to individuals working at various levels of an organization, from materials handlers and paraprofessionals to library administration. Ultimately, the subcommittee prioritized the creation of tightly curated resources that could be built and edited iteratively while remaining sensitive to the needs of the ARLIS/NA community. 

GIF video showing the links and further reading resources gathered under the Inclusive Hiring section of the Diversity Toolkit.
There are plenty of resources ready to explore in the Inclusive Hiring section.

The Diversity Toolkit is a crowdsourced work in progress. Currently live is the Inclusive Hiring section, with Workspaces, Leadership, and Collections content coming soon. We welcome you to browse these resources and bookmark the items that you find yourself revisiting. We’d love to hear how you’re using the toolkit, resources you find compelling, or suggestions for new resources you may have.

Share your thoughts by filling out this feedback form and we’ll endeavor to incorporate your ideas in future toolkit updates.

Featured image: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Tools.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 8, 2021.

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