Libraries Statement On Systemic Racism

The UNLV Libraries affirms President Marta Meana’s statement denouncing systemic racism and our commitment to be leaders in confronting racism. We condemn violence and structural racism evident in our society.

We reaffirm our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as stated in our values and diversity statement. We stand with our fellow members of The Black Caucus of the American Library Association and Asian/Pacific American Library Association in opposing xenophobia and racism. We know we must do better, both as individuals and as an organization, to support our students, staff, and faculty of color, to ensure justice and a safe community for all, and to stamp out a system of white supremacy from which many continue to unfairly benefit. 

Specifically, we are committed to:

  • Continuing to evaluate and improve our hiring practices to reflect the diversity of our community. We are working to improve and implement more inclusive recruitment and hiring policies suggested by an in-depth study and report from our Inclusion and Equity Committee
  • Supporting People of Color in their career development and advancement, including participation in leadership development programs.
  • Supporting library faculty and staff in attending diversity conferences and events. We provide additional professional development funding for individuals to attend specific diversity conferences and share their experiences across the Libraries. 
  • Encouraging each member of our library staff and faculty to further equity, inclusion, and diversity. Faculty include at least one diversity and inclusion objective in their annual performance goals, and the Libraries provide training and spaces for all employees to pursue individual growth and understanding regarding systemic racism.
  • Developing local archival and oral history collections to provide the full history of our community. Several projects we have launched include the African American Experience in Las Vegas, the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project, and Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada, and we will soon be launching a project to collect oral histories from our region’s Asian American & Pacific Islander residents.
  • Curating resources and collections that direct students toward credible and diverse information. We are changing the language we use to describe collections, in order to make them more accurate, findable, and antiracist. We are creating and updating name authority records to enhance our own collection and plan in the future to share these with other organizations. 
  • Fostering a sense of belonging and inclusivity within our library facilities. We have implemented outreach programs to first-generation and transfer students to connect them to the Libraries’ spaces and resources, and foster a sense of community within the Libraries. We also organize Wikipedia Edit-a-thons to engage students in strengthening the representation of historically underrepresented groups on Wikipedia.

We realize that we are on a journey to learn, understand, and act to eliminate racism and these actions are just the very first steps on our walk. We are committed to the goal of eliminating systemic social injustice and embracing the richness of our diverse society.

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