The University Record, January 18, 1993

LETTERS

Library committed to diversity

Given recent questions raised in the Michigan Review, as dean of the University Library I want to reaffirm to the campus, and especially to our students of color, the Library commitment to diversity.

We are extremely proud of our strong tradition of diversity at the University Library. Walk in our doors and you will see a staff that reflects society. With more than 20 percent people of color on our staff, we are well poised to serve our campus community. We are also proud of our fine collections and services. Even with the ever-increasing costs to purchase materials for the collection, we have maintained a world-class collection which reflects the diverse research and study interests of our faculty and students. This means that sometimes we allocate special funds to fill gaps in resources relating to particular cultures and areas. As curriculum and research needs shift, our collection needs will change over time.

In serving users, libraries must make special efforts to respond to those whose culture is not the “traditional” one in our society. The publication, distribution and organization of information has been very monocultural. It should not be surprising that the University Library would, along with its other specialties, also employ staff who are particularly able to assist students of color with their educational requirements and researchers with their focus on multicultural areas. The Peer Information Counseling Program and the Diversity Librarian are two examples of this commitment to service.

I hope for a future in which our entire environment is multicultural and responsive to all faculty, staff and students, no matter what their background. This campus has committed itself to increasing representation of faculty, staff and students from a wide range of cultures. The resources and services of the University need to reflect this broad commitment. The University Library has taken steps to ensure that its resources and services will reflect the increasingly multicultural nature of our campus. We have received campus and national recognition for our accomplishments, but we know there is more to do. Our strategic plan for the next three years reflects our continuing commitment to these goals.

Donald E. Riggs, dean
University Library