On October 27, 2017, the Monterey Bay Area Cooperative Library System (MOBAC) Reference Committee hosted Dr. Veronica Neal, an instructor and faculty advisor to the Office of Equity, Social Justice, and Multicultural Education at De Anza College. Dr. Neal facilitated a half-day workshop for library workers on facilitating social justice, equity, and inclusion in libraries, in which the equity walk exercise was discussed. The CSUMB faculty and staff in attendance recommended that the library diversity committee coordinate an equity walk at the CSUMB library. The library conducted an equity walk activity in Spring 2018. The following is the framework for the activity, along with a copy of the handout. This exercise was in alignment with the library's commitment to supporting all of our patrons.
- Think about actionable information that can make short term or long term improvements. Take into consideration that recommendations will vary between no/low cost and high cost.
- The process is about sharing ideas and recommendations.
- An outcome of the process is that it may raise awareness amongst ourselves about how the library may be experienced differently depending on personal experience and expectations.
Definitions of Common Terms
- State or fact of being diverse; different characteristics and experiences that define individuals. (ACRL Diversity Standards)
- Individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations). (CSUMB Office of Inclusive Excellence)
- A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. (ADA National Network)
- Design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. (Disabled World)
- The creation of opportunities for historically underrepresented populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs that are capable of closing the achievement gaps in student success and completion. (CSUMB Office of Inclusive Excellence)
Instructions for the Exercise
1) Sign up for a group
- Cognitive disabilities (learning disabilities, ADHD, etc.) & Physical disabilities (cerebral palsy, epilepsy, etc.)
- International students
- First-generation students
- Non-traditional students (veterans, career changers, students who are parents, etc.)
There is a Zotero bibliography published by the ACRL Instruction Section (IS) - Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee with good resources for most of these groups.
2) Take a walk as a group
Think about how the identity group you are in experiences the library. What is inviting? What is not inviting? What do you think are some concerns or issue they face when they are in the library?
3) Complete the handoutCSUMB Library Equity Walk Handout
Share what the group experienced and discuss at the next staff meeting.