The Libraries at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are dedicated to the practices of social justice, diversity, and equality among our staff, students, collections, and services.

Library Equity and Diversity Committee 

Diversity: A core value of librarianship

The American Library Association has made diversity a key action area, and in 2012 the Association of College and Research Libraries developed Diversity Standards “to emphasize the need and obligation to serve and advocate for… diverse constituencies.”

Diversity is the range of human qualities that impact and influence how people are perceived and how they behave. It is a focus on engaging “the whole person” and recognizing the multiple dimensions of diversity they may inhabit.

Leveraging Diversity

The mere presence of diversity does not mean that differences are being leveraged or seen as assets. Leveraging diversity allows the organization to fully benefit from the strengths and talents of all staff. In order to leverage diversity, an organization must also be inclusive. The General Library System is committed to creating an inclusive environment for both staff and patrons:

  • one in which individuals are actively included and respected, so they are able to contribute and reach their full potential;
  • one which values and encourages different perspectives and reflects the interests of diverse individuals; and
  • one which engages with diversity in ways that enable staff to respond respectfully and effectively to people of many cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and other diversity factors.

Diversity and Inclusivity in the Libraries

A more diverse and inclusive General Library System would include staff that reflect the diversity of the community we serve and provide resources and services that best meet their needs. It would provide the foundation for an institution ready to adapt to the future needs of both the community and staff.

Working definitions established by the General Library System Diversity Task Force, as shared in the report, Nov. 2015.