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Sharing UMKC Libraries' Equity Initiatives

A diverse group of eight people pose smiling in a conference room. They're the Equity Committee.

The UMKC Libraries Equity Committee (bottom l to r): Gail Williams, Sandy Rodriguez, Anthony LaBat. (top row l to r): Jason Alston, Garth Tardy, Scott Curtis, Fu Zhuo, Tracey Hughes


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion have been an institutional priority at UMKC for many years, and we recognize that equity must be centered in all aspects of our work in order for us to support our mission. UMKC's Strategic Plan Pillar 4, to "Foster an environment of invigorating multiculturalism, globalism, diversity and inclusion," is foundational to the UMKC University Libraries' mission, to "promote discovery, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge and creative work to its diverse constituents through collaborative opportunities."

Since our June 2020 Call to Action, Libraries' employees have prioritized learning, reflection, and concrete action to work toward a more equitable culture and organization. Inspired by the University of North Carolina Libraries, we now have a space to share our Equity Initiatives. These pages will expand as we share more of our completed projects, work in progress, and work yet to begin.

We are committed to building equity in all aspects of the Libraries, and recognize that this is an ongoing process that takes persistence. We are immensely grateful to our Equity Committee members and the library workers who challenged us to do better. While it is not the responsibility of those who are harmed by systemic inequity to carry the burden of progress, many of you have taken personal risks with your honesty, worked quietly behind the scenes, boldly taken the lead, and given your energy and labor - without you, the Libraries would not have made the progress we have. We will continue to build structures so that the work of breaking down systemic inequity primarily falls on those who benefit from systems of power, privilege, and oppression. 

As we build out these pages with progress on our equity initiatives, we hope that it will encourage others to take an honest look at their own organizations as well as hold us accountable in an ongoing critical examination of our own culture and organization.

Cindy Thompson
Interim Dean of Libraries

Sandy Rodriguez
Associate Dean of Special Collections and Archives

Tracey Hughes
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Teaching & Learning Librarian

Posted: September 07, 2021