Library Anti-Racism Team

2020-21 Library Anti-Racism Team Members: Lori Steckervetz (Team Leader), Renée Fratantonio, Asher Jackson, Jordanna (Jodie) Lawton, Connie Strittmatter

In a public response to the 2020 murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the Library issued a public statement of solidarity with the BLM protests, as well as a commitment of action to addressing systemic and institutional racism both within the Library and across campus. In order to ensure that the Library follows through on this commitment, the Library Anti-Racism team was created at the end of FY2020. The team is comprised of a group of volunteers that include both librarians and library staff.  

Click the link to read the Anti-Racism Library Team Charge: tiny.cc/AntiracismTeamCharge

 

Library DEI Plan

Over the course of FY21 the team developed a Library Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) plan. The Library DEI plan focuses on 5 areas of Library operations: Staff Professional Development, Collections & Systems, and Programming & Outreach, Policies & Procedures, Library User Data Gathering & Assessment

Click the link to read the 2021 draft of the Library Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Plan: tiny.cc/LibraryDEIPlanDraft2021

The Library has begun implementation of the Library Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Plan with a collection development pilot project to "identify gaps and fill gaps in the existing collection for diverse representation in both topics and authors" in the Children's Literature collection.

This project has resulted in the purchase and inclusion of over 198 new titles to increase diverse representation in the Library’s picture book collection.

 

DEI Focused Online Guides

The Library collaborated with a number of units across campus to bring together multiple diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and support them with curated resources:

  • Diversity,  Equity and Inclusion
    • fitchburgstate.libguides.com/DEI
    • This guide serves as a landing page/portal to link users to other the following: Leading for Change, Anti-Racism resources, Understanding Land and Labor Acknowledgements, definitions language to support the new University strategic plan, and library resources. 
  • Leading for Change
  • Understanding Land and Labor Acknowledgements
  • Anti-Racism Guide
    • fitchburgstate.libguides.com/anti-racism
    • To help support the Fitchburg State community in learning more about systemic racism, as well as anti-racism practices and tools to enable the dismantling of racist systems, the Library has created and continues to update and expand an Anti-Racism Guide. As of July 2021, this guide received 78,973 views accounting for 90% of the Library’s Topic

 

Project A+: Supporting Neurodiverse Students in the Library 

Project A+ Team Members: Kelly Boudreau, Sherry Packard, and Connie Strittmatter

The Library's Project A+ team meets regularly to investigate and develop new approaches to serving neurodiverse students. Using Florida State University’s Project A+: Serving Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Academic Library as a guide, the team has worked with library staff to make changes to the library environment in order to create a more inclusive environment that seeks to meet the needs of neurodiverse students. 

Changes to the library space over the past year include:

  • Additional lighting options - Rolling/moveable lamps and table lamps are now available through out the library's 4 floors. 
  • Privacy panels - these simple cardboard table top screens are scattered through out the Library. Students should feel free to move them to whatever table they want to use in order to help reduce distractions
  • Movable standing desks - adjustable desks that can be moved anywhere in the library space so that students who prefer to stand while working can do so comfortably in the space of their choosing 
  • Quiet clocks - non-ticking wall clocks have been added to floors 2-4. If a student is sitting near the clock they will not be distracted by any ticking sounds, but may also find that it can be less distracting to glance at a clock instead of picking up a phone to check the time.
  • Fidget toys - these  are self-regulation tools that can help with maintaining focus and attention. Located in baskets at both the Research Help Desk and Public Services Desk, students are invited to borrow any fidget toys while in the Library. 
  • Noise cancelling headphones - while the 3rd and 4th floors of the Library are designated as Quiet Study spaces, noise cancelling headphones can help students who are sensitive to ambient noises. Stop by the Public Services Desk by the Library entrance on the first floor to check out a pair.

                                                             

In addition to the environmental changes and tools, the Project A+ team also implemented an Alternative Communication Strategies training module which Library Student Employees completed in March 2021. To evaluate the effectiveness of the training, the Project A+ team interviewed the student employees to solicit their feedback on what parts of the training were effective and areas that can be improved. The team is currently working on revisions to the training modules with Alternative Communication Strategies 2.0 Training to be released Fall 2021.