Creating a Social Justice Mindset: The Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Task Force of the MIT Libraries Collections Directorate
In 2016, the MIT Libraries Collections Directorate explored how we can go beyond hiring and programming to manifest the values of diversity, inclusion, and social justice in our daily work. Staff from archives, technical services, preservation, scholarly communication, and collections strategy worked together on a task force focused on operationalizing these values in our policies, routines, and processes.
Over the course of eight months, the task force explored DISJ philosophically and pragmatically. The group developed a shared conceptual understanding of academic libraries’ overarching economic and social contexts and developed definitions of the terms “diversity,” “inclusion,” and “social justice.” In our final report, we emphasized issues of economic justice, as well as systems of oppression and privilege based on social and cultural categories such as race, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, class, and ability.
Inspired by a series of discussions involving every member of the directorate, as well as information gathered from our review of the literature, we created a list of more than 40 recommendations, including:
support publications (OA and pay-for-access) from the Global South and other regions underrepresented in scholarly publishing;
recognize and include marginalized perspectives by purchasing from independent publishers;
document student groups and social actions;
leverage purchasing power to negotiate the broadest possible access for electronic resources;
respect and preserve original structures that are culturally significant or representative in preservation and conservation treatments; and
accept vocabularies other than LCSH into the catalog.
We look forward to discussing our work and hearing your perspectives on this vital, timely topic!
Michelle Baildon, Collections Strategist for Arts & Humanities and the Science, Technology, & Society (STS), Librarian at MIT Libraries
Michelle Baildon is the Collections Strategist for Arts & Humanities and the Science, Technology, & Society (STS) Librarian at MIT Libraries and, with Julia Lanigan, was a member of the MIT Libraries’ Collections Directorate Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (DISJ) Task Force in 2016. From 2006 to 2015, she was the Philosophy, History, Anthropology, & STS Librarian at MIT. She received an MLIS from Simmons College, an M.A. in American Studies from Yale University, and a B.A. in History and Science from Harvard University. Michelle is a 2002 Spectrum Scholar and ARL Diversity Scholar, Past President of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), and Past Chair of the RUSA History Section.
Julia Lanigan, Collections & Administrative Assistant, MIT Libraries
Julia Lanigan has worked for the MIT Libraries in a variety of roles since 2001. She is currently the Collections and Administrative Assistant in the department of Scholarly Communications and Collections Strategy. She recently served on the MIT Libraries’ Collections Directorate Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice. Julia is a student in the MLIS program at San Jose State University.