Inclusion and Diversity Initiatives
- Offered three fellowships in Summer 2022 for undergraduates as part of its American Rescue Plan grant project, concluding with workshops in Fall 2023 designed to help bridge information literacy gaps for transfer, first-generation, and students of color.
- The Inclusive Service Excellence Work Group (established by VCU Libraries' Research & Learning Division) concluded its work to examine and make recommendations to ensure that the division’s approach and guidelines towards service excellence reflect principles of inclusion and equity, including services for students, staff, and faculty at VCU Libraries' busiest service points.
- VCU Libraries received a generous gift for the creation of the VCU Publishing Research Awards: honoraria that support scholars whose research expands the Social Welfare History Project’s resources. This year’s awardees have contributed research on disability education, Black community organizing in Richmond, Va., support for veterans, HIV awareness, citizenship, race, and education in a U.S.territory, and the history of an orphanage for African American children.
- Joined as a supporting member of punctum books, an independent, queer, peer-reviewed open access publisher
- Published a new Racism and Health Guide to promote understanding, support teaching, and inspire research about racism and health.
- Continued to offer programming and events for the VCU community, including:
- Our inaugural social justice lecture focused on racism in health care
- Our Black History Month Lecture at which a Smithsonian curator shared lessons in Black musical history
- Hosting the National Library of Medicine Traveling Banner Exhibit: Care and Custody: Past Responses to Mental Health
- Conducted a survey of faculty and focus groups to understand how to best communicate about the tensions and unsustainable costs of purchasing online access to journals controlled by commercial publishers. As part of this work, the committee created a values statement committing to Sustainability, Transparency, Openness and Inclusivity.
- Building gender inclusive restrooms at both Cabell Library and the Health Sciences Library.
- The Fines, Fees, and Equity Work Group reviewed how the fines and fee structure impacts user groups and made recommendations regarding all policies related to borrowing fines and fees at VCU Libraries, considering how particular user groups may be disproportionately affected by library fines, fees and associated policies.
- Revamped faculty and staff recruitment processes with an eye toward inclusion.
- Addressed VCU Libraries expectations for professionalism through a Faculty organization resolution on cultural competence.
- Installed Little Ram Pantries in both Cabell Library and the Health Sciences Library as part of a pilot project to help address food insecurity among financially challenged students.
- The Libraries Inclusion and Diversity Committee organized the Walking the Ward tour, which deepened the knowledge of and connection to Jackson Ward, a neighborhood that is steeped in the history of Black life in Richmond and is located between the Monroe Park Campus and the MCV Campus.
- Read more about the Libraries’ efforts in Reconnection: VCU Libraries 2021-22 Year in Review
- The Health Sciences Library (previously Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences) was renamed, as part of Virginia Commonwealth University’s efforts to de-commemorate buildings and monuments on campus that honor historical figures with ties to the Confederacy.
- The VCU Libraries' Open and Affordable Course Content Initiative expanded its program, saving students $3.5 million on course materials since its inception.
- VCU Libraries launched a redesigned website to make navigation easier for people who use assistive technology.
- The Food for Fines program is expanded into an ongoing food drive that allows library users to pay off their overdue fines by fighting food insecurity on campus.
- VCU Libraries’ Social Welfare History Project and the companion Image Portal continued to grow and served as an important resource for the VCU community and the general public, providing access to articles and images on topics such as women’s history, voting rights, civil rights, and African American history.
- A team of librarians was invited to present locally and nationally on “Developing Gender-Affirming Library Spaces, Systems, Services and Staff.”
- The University Librarian issued an anti-racism statement and launched an anti-racism initiative to “deeply examine every aspect of our work to highlight how we fail to advance racial justice and equity, as well as instances in which we perpetuate it, and design substantive, meaningful reforms that we must undertake together to address those failures.”
- Read more about the Libraries’ efforts in Connections: VCU Libraries 2019-20 Year in Review
- The Gender-Inclusive Library Workgroup explored how the library might better support VCU community members who are transgender or nonbinary. The Workgroup’s report includes recommendations to make the Libraries more inclusive for library employees and users.
- The Libraries hosted a Food for Fines food drive benefiting Ram Pantry, encouraging library users to donate food in exchange for waiving their library fines.
- VCU Libraries’ Community Engagement Librarian receives national honor for advocacy in LGBTQIA community.
- The Lactation Room opens at the Health Sciences Library.
- New campus exhibit at Cabell Library showcased first-generation students’ experiences at VCU.
- Read more about the Libraries’ efforts in Priorities: VCU Libraries 2018-19 Year in Review