Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)

My colleagues Rebecca Bryant and Merrilee Proffitt have summarized discussions at our 1 November 2017 regional OCLC Research Library Partnership meeting in Baltimore on evolving scholarly services and workflows and on moving forward with unique and distinctive collections. This summarizes our third discussion thread, on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).

We conducted an “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Survey of the OCLC Research Library Partnership” between 12 September and 13 October of this year.  We wanted to obtain a snapshot of the EDI efforts within the Partnership that could help identify specific follow-up activities which could provide assistance and better inform practice. We were pleased that 63 Partners in nine countries responded to the survey. A summary of the results served as the framework for discussions with Partners at our meeting in Baltimore.

Some highlights from the survey results:

  • 59% of the respondents had set up or plan to set up an EDI committee or working group.
  • 72% were using or planned to use EDI goals and principles to inform their collections’ workflows, practices, or services.
  • Of those who responded they were using or planned to use EDI goals, 79% were working with other institutions, organizations, or community groups on EDI to improve representation of marginalized groups in collections, practices, or services.
  • The top three areas that 80% or more of the respondents had already changed due to their institutions’ EDI goals and principles were:
    • Activities and events
    • Recruitment and retention
    • Outreach to marginalized communities
  • The top two areas where 70% or more of the respondents planned to change but haven’t yet were:
    • Search and discovery interfaces
    • Metadata descriptions in library catalogs

Biggest institutional challenges in Partners’ EDI efforts included building relationships with marginalized communities and creating a positive work climate, which, in turn, would help recruit and retain diverse staff.

OCLC Research staff will be looking at ways to follow-up on the suggestions from our Partnership meeting discussions, which included sharing a list of resources from the survey responses and researching the landscape of EDI efforts being conducted by other professional organizations to identify gaps so we can better leverage community activities. Meanwhile, feel free to post your own EDI efforts in the comments below!

The OCLC Research Library Partnership provides a unique transnational collaborative network of peers to address common issues as well as the opportunity to engage directly with OCLC Research.

Karen Smith-Yoshimura, senior program officer, works on topics related to creating and managing metadata with a focus on large research libraries and multilingual requirements.

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