Faculty resolves to embrace cultural competence in their work

February 11, 2022

The VCU Libraries Faculty Organization voted in January to adopt a resolution in support of cultural competency. Offered in support of VCU’s ongoing commitment to growth of understanding of the university’s and our community’s diversity, this resolution was the result of months of discussion, writing and revision. A topic of great ongoing interest for the Libraries’ faculty, cultural competence is more vital than ever as VCU’s population evolves along with the Commonwealth.

The resolution states that for faculty, it is “incumbent on us as stewards of VCU’s libraries and archives to understand our users in all of their diversity. This includes not only their interaction with our collections, technologies and spaces, but also their experiences generally with library facilities, personnel, policies and practices.”

The resolution affirms faculty support for VCU’s efforts to provide education and training opportunities in support of cultural competence. Further, it articulates the faculty’s commitment to an individual and collective embrace of cultural competence as fundamental to its members’ work as information professionals.

Patrons at VCU Libraries have previously seen evidence of this commitment in various forms. 

  • As part of the 2014-16 renovation of Cabell Library, seating options were expanded to more comfortably accommodate patrons of varying shapes and sizes as well as differing mobility. 
  • Descriptions of archival materials have been edited and improved with more culturally appropriate language. 
  • New gender-inclusive restrooms are under construction at both libraries.

“It is hoped that this kind of work will continue and expand bolstered by this resolution and that this resolution shows our commitment, as a faculty, to contributing to and supporting this work,” said Ashley Brewer, 2021-22 chair of the Faculty Organization.

"This resolution supporting VCU’s mandatory training on cultural competence is just one example of how VCU Libraries lives its mission, vision, values, and strategic framework," said Dean Irene Herold. "I appreciate the intention of this resolution of support and the further thinking and commitments to action."

Specifically, the resolution states a commitment to these actions:

  • Seeking feedback and partnership from students, staff and faculty representing VCU’s diversity when exploring new services or conducting research;
  • Featuring diverse authors, scholars, researchers and creatives in events and other programming offered by VCU Libraries;
  • Setting measurable standards for public-facing work to keep us accountable for providing culturally competent service to library users; 
  • Exploring, as researchers, works from diverse authors and creators, citing inclusively to avoid the perpetuation of systemic biases;
  • Striving to make VCU Libraries an accessible and safe space where all patrons feel welcome and supported.

Link to the full resolution


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