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Dismantling Disparities

Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

In the past decade or more, there has been growing momentum to increase awareness, understanding and respect for individuals of differing ages, ethnicities, abilities, genders, religions, sexual orientations, and diverse backgrounds. To further develop an environment of equity and inclusion within the University Libraries, the Equity and Social Justice Advisory Group (ESJAG) was created in support of these principles.

Since its inception in 2020, this advisory group, comprised of UB Libraries faculty and staff, actively advocates for equity, diversity, inclusion (EDI) and social justice. The group strives to educate colleagues on issues connected to inherent and unconscious bias among library employees and in library work practices. ESJAG also acts as a resource for EDI issues that impact UB Libraries, from advising on policy concerns, to collections, facilities and more.

“It is gratifying to help provide concrete and meaningful training and development sessions for library faculty and staff,” says Beth Carpenter, student support and engagement librarian and ESJAG training task force chair. “These sessions demonstrate the willingness of our colleagues to confront these difficult issues in their work lives and personal lives.”

ESJAG has created task forces to organize education and training sessions; facilitated discussions on topics including microaggressions, gender identity and neurodiversity; collaborated with Libraries’ human resources to identify and implement changes to the hiring process; and promoted university events that address EDI issues.