At the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, the ACRL Board of Directors voted to add to the ACRL Plan for Excellence a new signature initiative focused on the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). The creation of a signature initiative is distinct from the goal areas currently highlighted in the Plan for Excellence, which are meant to be re-examined for continuance every 3-5 years. As such, a signature initiative represents a strategic priority designed to permeate the work of the Association, cutting across the four established goal areas, as well as all ACRL committees and communities of practice.
Building on work over the course of the past year, the signature initiative on EDI provides an opportunity to convene a division-wide focus on one of the Association’s core values. Establishing this initiative will enable the Association to further examine and develop support in these critical areas at a time when many in our profession regularly express concern and feel a threat to our core values.
The Board has recently undertaken a variety of steps to reinforce and reinvigorate the core values of the Association, and has released numerous statements on issues ranging from the condemnation of white supremacy and racism to support for Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students. The Board also endorsed the Diversity Standards: Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries in 2012 and has actively supported and promoted the ACRL Diversity Alliance, which was formed in 2016 and currently has 38 members.
During the Midwinter Meeting, the ACRL Board reviewed the updated language around EDI in the Plan for Excellence and charged a Board working group to explore ways to address these issues effectively and strategically across the Association. Additionally, ACRL leadership began an important conversation on EDI during the Leadership Council meeting with Communities of Practice and general membership, offering suggestions on what directions the Association might take that would be of most benefit to the membership. The Board will review these ideas and looks forward to continuing the conversation at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference. The Board is committed to devoting resources to carry out new, high-impact EDI initiatives.