Happy New Year! Or Happy School New Year, that is. Just like January 1st brings in new resolutions, people, and opportunities, this new school year is bringing in new faces, initiatives, and events to KU Libraries DEI committee. Sadly, we bring in the year saying farewell to the two powerhouse co-chairs of the committee Jeromy Horkman and Tami Albin, who have accomplished great things for the Libraries and campus, all while providing great leadership to the committee during their terms. We’re sad to see them go, but excited for the opportunity to continue their good work.

This 2018-2019 school year, we want to be the leaders of change in the libraries and across campus to promote critical thinking and advance the libraries’ mission to prioritize a diverse workforce across campus and encourage all ideas and perspectives. Our committee is passionate and eager to continue libraries-wide educational efforts and develop active social justice initiatives to reduce inequalities and inequities. We’ve done a lot of good things in the past to uphold our mission like the common book discussion for Citizen, and bringing in Adrianne Nuñez, Human Trafficking Program Coordinator at The Willow Domestic Violence Center, but we could do more, and we WANT to do more. This year we’re focusing on being more proactive than reactive in the current social climate. Something bad and discriminatory shouldn’t have to happen in order for us to raise awareness about it.  We want to address these issues head on, so that we can do our part in preventing these types of aggressions.

Some of the many things we have planned for this year include recognizing celebratory months that are commemorated by different cultures, bringing the libraries together for a potluck to celebrate our cultural differences, bringing the student voice into our discussions, and continuing to donate our time and resources to diversifying efforts around the Lawrence community. The fun part is that this is just the beginning! We are honored to be working with such a great group of individuals this year, and are excited to see what comes out of our efforts.

Although this blog has been updated somewhat regularly in the past, the newest roster of the DEI committee is interested in reviving the blog to serve as a platform for sharing our efforts toward making the libraries more equitable for employees and patrons, and to lift the voices of other groups on campus who are doing similar work. To see the great things we’re up to, and read reflections from our great community, look for updates to the blog each month. Blog posts will be written by KU Libraries DEI committee members with occasional guest posts by other folks on campus. Until next time, CHEERS and Happy New Year!

From your Co-Chairs Natalie Mahan and Tanay Adams