2022 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition
San Jose State University has a rich history of social justice and activism. In early 2000, the Association of Students began to recognize the university's unsung heroes, including Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who protested the 1968 summer Olympics during the civil rights movement. Smith and Carlos were memorialized with a 22-foot-tall statue in the heart of the main campus. Even with its illustrious activist history, the climate at SJSU and in the library during the COVID-19 quarantine became untenable as we witnessed the deaths of numerous innocent black people at the hands of police brutality. Observing the Black Lives Matter protests and Say their names protest unfold during quarantine prompted a few employees to strongly encourage the library administration to act and get library employees to talk about race and racism. In Summer 2020, the University Library began a series of training sessions with DeEtta Jones and Associates Consulting to address institutional racism. Additionally, the library surveyed library employees to determine the priority of policies and practices that employees wished to address; this resulted in a library-wide Anti-Racism Action Plan that included the creation of an Anti-Racism Assessment Working Group. This poster will discuss the formation of the working group and the steps and processes that resulted in the group developing Anti-Racism Assessment guidelines and metrics for library policies, recruitment, and retention practices. Additionally, this poster will highlight obstacles and challenges, most notably the ability of the working group to create a safe space for difficult conversations about racism.
Adriana Poo, Neil Ordinario, and Sharon Thompson. "Chipping at the Ivory Tower: Creating an Anti-Racism Assessment Working Group to Address Institutional Racism" 2022 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition (2022).