April is Celebrate Diversity Month. But what does this actually mean? As this 2014 blog post from Lee & Low points out, months devoted to concepts like “Diversity” and Heritage Months focused on particular cultures cause mixed emotions for many individuals and communities.
As Jason Low writes, “The observance month can easily lead to the bad habit of featuring these books and culture for one month out of the entire year. … On the other hand, observance months can definitely do some good: they remind educators to highlight the achievements of particular cultures, and can make students from those cultures feel acknowledged and appreciated. But wouldn’t it be better if that feeling and effort could be maintained all twelve months of the year?”
“Teaching Tolerance,” a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, also offers an excellent critique and tips for asking “anti-bias essential questions.”
During Celebrate Diversity Month, we want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the resources that are available year-round in the Library:
- Our LGBTQ+ LibGuide identifies resources with information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) topics, issues, literature and local resources and support.
- Our Diversity Resources for Teaching and Learning Libguide offers links to books, videos, databases, and resources such as “Think Before You Appropriate: A Guide for Creators and Designers.”
- This guide also includes a link to Project Implicit, “a non-profit organization and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition – thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. The goal of the organization is to educate the public about hidden biases and to provide a ‘virtual laboratory’ for collecting data on the Internet.” Project Implicit includes a range of online tests you can take to learn more about your own biases. These tests include a range of identity categories.
While LibGuides focused on particular identity categories run the risk of replicating the “silos outside of the standard curriculum” that Emily Chiariello critiques, we hope these guides make the diverse resources of the library more visible and easily accessible for use throughout your research. You can also use subject terms such as: “Diversity in the workplace” or “Race – Political aspects – United States” or “Social Classes – Political Aspects – United States” to navigate through the books, ebooks, films, and other resources available from the Library. If you’re interested in learning more, visit the Reference Desk, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or schedule a one-on-one appointment with a reference librarian.
During Celebrate Diversity Month, we’ll continue to work on adding titles to our collection that reflect a wide range of authors, experiences, and scholarly topics. Our reference team is also working on building a LibGuide with resources for First Generation students that will be available soon. If there are other diversity initiatives you’d like to see the library undertake, contact Liz Chase email@example.com.