rusq: Vol. 52 Issue 3: p. 254
Sources: Diversity Programming and Outreach for Academic Libraries
Lara Cummings

Instruction Librarian, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington

Diversity Programming and Outreach for Academic Libraries is a case study in what it takes to bring diversity in all shapes and types to one’s library. Following the experience of Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), this resource puts together a plan for how an academic library can respond following a campus-wide initiative to become more inclusive and to diversify programming.

A few of the initial steps taken at IUPUI included forming a student advisory group and a University Library Undergraduate Diversity Scholar Program focused on “introducing undergraduate students to librarianship as a career” (28). Fostering undergraduate student development and assisting with career planning proved so fruitful that it was highlighted by the University’s Diversity Council and was awarded a grant from the Laura Bush twenty-first century Librarian Program. Details on the creation of the program, from recruitment to hiring to assessment, are outlined in detail for the reader, including examples of forms and advertising.

An entire chapter within this resource is devoted to the programming and outreach efforts initiated by many of the undergraduate scholars. Some of the programs highlighted include displays focusing on multicultural awareness issues; the addition of DVDs on transgender topics, with concomitant viewings and a facilitated discussion; the creation of a small library in a women’s community center in Cuernavaca, Mexico; and many other events and collaborations across the IUPUI campus. The subsequent chapters highlight the creation of an international newsroom within the library (the former microfilm room was converted to a lounge space with mounted televisions showing news from foreign countries in their respective languages), campaigns by the library using ALA’s “Read” posters, and a program sponsored by the archives focusing on oral histories.

The diversity programming at IUPUI was undertaken in response to a campus-wide initiative to broaden the programming offerings to multicultural and other underrepresented student groups. It seems that an extraordinary amount of effort was devoted to both the library projects and the campus-wide initiative. This raises several questions. Are all of these programs sustainable? Was this much effort, time, and money also put into continued programming for the on-campus, online, and commuter student? And, finally, what kinds of programming were in place before these initiatives took place, and what prompted these initiatives to be undertaken?

Although this review cannot provide details about every program and event described in this complex and idea-packed resource, it’s safe to say that any library seeking to diversify its program offerings will find valuable information here. Numerous appendixes provide details about the creation of many of the programs, and the book contains an index, a selected bibliography, tables, charts, and black-and-white photographs. This would be an excellent addition to any academic library collection, particularly those with affiliated library school programs. This book also could serve as a textbook or appear on a suggested reading list for library school students who will someday be providing programming in their own libraries for multicultural patrons, international patrons, people with disabilities, people of various ages, and so forth, to be inclusive all of the patrons in their libraries.

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