Creating a more inclusive tomorrow

This year has been a time of deep reflection and consideration of our past and how we will shape our future. Throughout 2020-21, we are marking 50 years of the Joseph Regenstein Library, exploring our history as well as our impact today and vision for tomorrow. During this Spring Quarter, we are focusing on the future of the Library and taking this moment to highlight our Strategic Directions and our aim to build an organization that cultivates and values diversity, recognizing the strength that it brings to our community.

Photo of Brenda Johnson in Mansueto Library
Brenda L. Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian (Photo by John Zich)

The University of Chicago Library is committed to enabling all members of the University to fully access our world-class resources and to ensuring our spaces and services are welcoming and inclusive. We recognize that different backgrounds and perspectives are the building blocks that make rigorous inquiry possible.

In early 2020, the Library established a Diversity and Inclusion Team (DIT), drawn from staff in order to encourage their peers to be part of open and honest discussion and actively seek viewpoints beyond their own. The DIT is also making recommendations on how the Library’s collections, services, and programs could be enhanced and developed for greater diversity. In the past year, the DIT and other groups at the Library have supported and led activities that increase awareness and understanding of diversity amongst staff, including the creation of an Inclusive Language Toolkit, facilitation of an anti-racist reading group, and recommendations of books and resources that enable learning and self-reflection.

As part of the University’s Giving Tuesday campaign in December, the Library raised funds in support of a Diversity and Inclusion Graduate Student Fellow. With generous support from alumni, friends, and staff, the Library will be able to recruit a graduate student to assist the DIT and their activities. The Fellow will also use this time to create a project informed by their own field of study that will help foster diversity and inclusion in the Library.

The Library sits at the heart of the University and can play a central role in empowering our academic community. If you have been inspired by the Library’s commitment to be a place where all individuals are valued and activities and programs nurture a flourishing, diverse, and inclusive community, we welcome your support of the Library’s Annual Fund. Your contribution will help expand and strengthen the Library’s collections, services, and programs aimed to inspire and encourage diversity and inclusion. Thank you so much, in advance.

With heartfelt gratitude,

Brenda L. Johnson
Library Director and University Librarian