Meeting recap — May 7, 2015

Introduction of DASIG members and welcome to staff interested in joining DASIG
Members and staff interested in DASIG introduced themselves.

Recap of DASIG work and call for new members

Kristen gave an introduction of our work.  Each member will:

  • Make a commitment of time for research, facilitation, workshop planning, participation, and reporting;
  • Facilitate up to two discussions each year; and
  • Take notes on and blog about at least one session each year.

Kristen shared our definition of diversity: A diverse library promotes respect for all individuals and communities and goes beyond simple tolerance to welcoming, valuing, and engaging each perspective and experience.

Promoting diversity as an intrinsic quality of the UT Libraries requires:

Fluency in and sustained attention to age, citizenship, dis/ability, gender, gender identity and expression, international/national origin, race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, veteran status, and the intersection of multiple dimensions; and

Sustained dialogue to learn from and grow with historically marginalized communities of staff and stakeholders. Historically marginalized groups are those who have been repeatedly, over time, excluded from systems of privilege including education, political representation, economic exchange, media authorship, etc., and, within the U.S., include LGBTQ people, Native American and Indigenous peoples, people of non-Western or non-Christian traditions, people of color, people with disabilities, women, and working class people.

We are waiting to hear from Executive Management Team about their decision to adopt our definition of diversity.

Jee Davis explained that the work of DASIG is to do advocacy work by reading articles, inviting subject matter experts from campus to come speak to DASIG and to the Libraries staff, and to model the changes that we want to see.  As a reminder, DASIG is not defined by just one issue. We are a grassroots effort and embrace everyone’s ideas.

Staff considering joining DASIG were asked to indicate their interest in joining the group by emailing Kristen or Jee.

Report on gender-neutral bathrooms

Gender-neutral Restrooms in Learning Commons Update
The current members of DASIG explained the work done to advocate for gender-neutral bathrooms in the under-construction Learning Commons.

The next step is to talk with Project Management and Construction Services about possible signage for the bathrooms. Frauke Bartels is the contact . Volunteers can be part of the conversation with Frauke to determine what are options are, and to make an evidence-based decision by working with the Gender and Sexuality Center. Frank Meaker remarked that we need to indicate the facility is handicap accessible.

We also discussed the need to educate staff and patrons about lactation/quiet rooms in library areas. Jennifer Heath recommended that we look at the Employee Assistance Program guidelines for lacation/quiet rooms.

We also discussed the need for visual cues as a patron walks into library spaces.

LGBT Identities: Core Issues within the LGBT Community Classes

Roxanne Bogucka discussed two LGBTQA Identities classes that have been scheduled : July 30, 9:30-11 a.m., NHB, 1.720 and August 12, 2-3:30 p.m., PCL 1.124
Both classes are now in TXClass, ready for registration. Class number is LL 705.


Cindy Fisher led us through a brainstorming exercise that generated many potential ideas for diversity work.

Meeting recap — April 6, 2015

1. Report from Kristen and Jee on what they’ve learned about Administration’s plans

lorraine harricombe and Doug Barnett met with Kristin and Jee and discussed a pilot of student library ambassadors program and the recommendation for a diversity officer, which might be a shared position with DDCE or diversity officer duties attached to another UTL position. Jennifer Heath will look into residency programs.

2. Brief recap of “Lessons Learned” session (please read Kristen’s blog post to refresh your memory)

See blog post.

3. Discussion of membership structure

Staff Interest Groups are always ephemeral. How can we make this a continuing group? Should it become a task force? A working group? A team? A committee? Discussion followed on possible structures and the need for understanding of the official status of the group. SIG has negative connotations for some of our colleagues, but several of us felt reluctant to relinquish the Staff Interest part of the name, which indicates to others how this group came to be and that they too can be a part of it.

Some of our colleagues have expressed interest in joining DASIG. Discussion on how to add members revealed that we don’t want to set an arbitrary limit on the number of members. We decided to issue an annual invitation. Folks can attend a meeting and see what goes on, then let us know whether they can make a one-year commitment to DASIG. This will be announced at the all-staff meeting on Friday, April 10th.

We need a new co-chair. The time commitment is roughly 5-10 hours a month. Current members have until May 1st to indicate interest to Kristen and Jee.

DASIG meetings will be held on the first Thursday of the month, at 2:00 p.m. The next meeting is May 7th. The facilitator is Kelly Kerbow-Hudson and the blogger is Jennifer Heath.

4. Discuss approach to planning next training session

Ally training had been previously mentioned as a possible next training. Due to some awkwardnesses that can arise if attendees decide not to sign the Ally pledge, we decided to look more closely at the session “LGBT Identification: The Basics.” We will pick two dates and two locations for this, preferably in early August, close to when students will be returning to campus. It was suggested that a brainstorming meeting for future trainings would be an excellent engagement meeting to invite people to who are considering joining DASIG.

5. Report outs from members who attended diversity-related programming at ACRL

Members will send two-sentence digests of the ACRL programs they attended.

1) Residency Programs and Demonstrating Commitment to Diversity / Kelly McElroy & Chris Diaz — These presenters believe that residency positions in academic libraries are perceived as “less than,” and that they do nothing to forward the goal of increasing diversity in academic librarianship. They believe that goal must be addressed by cultivating undergraduates from historically underrepresented groups to and recruiting them to go enter graduate library programs. — RB

2) Opening Keynote / G. Willow Wilson — I found the opening session by Willow Wilson to be inspiring as she affects people who have been without a champion, changing the way we see the world.  All library-associated experiences create who we are as an institution–to students, faculty, administrators, and each other, which can influence a person’s sense of success here and beyond. — JH

3) In her paper Developing Best Practices for Serving Transgender Patrons at Academic Library Service Points, Rebecca M. Marrall, Diversity & Disability Services Librarian at Western Washington University Library, talked about the libraries’ collaborations through focus groups with students to decide on signs for their all-gender restrooms. She also reviewed their collaborative process working with the writing center and the library service desk to integrate the university’s preferred name policy into their network – so that library and writing center staff have students’ and staff members’ preferred name – and a best practices for serving transgender patrons document, including using gender neutral pronouns at service desks. — KH

4) In the Scholarly Communication as a Tool for Social Justice and Diversity panel discussion, the panelists discussed racial, cultural, and gender bias in academia, particularly focusing on scholarly publishing practice. The panelists shared their work about moving a print journal to an online open access journal and providing an open access journal service to a student group in an academic institutional repository. — JD

Meeting Recap for 2/19/15

Jaime Davis expertly led us through a review of our lessons learned from our first year to identify what worked, what we’d like to change, and how we plan to change it.

Jamie is Training Program Manager at University Compliance Services. She has been doing training and professional development at UT Austin since 2001. She earned a Training Professional certification in 2005 at Texas A&M and is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at UT Austin.

Jaime started us out by asking what each of our expectations and goals for the session were, then she outlined ground rules for our conversation so that we could share different opinions and perspectives in a productive way:

  • Be respectful
  • Avoid targeting people and focus on behaviors
  • Participate equally (make sure everyone has the space to participate)
  • Keep conversation productive

What WORKED for DASIG this past year:

  • Effective leadership from the co-chairs. For DASIG, effective leadership means:
    • Kept the group moving forward
    • Were organized
    • Filled in gaps – when something wasn’t getting done, they would do it
    • Were creative – kept us thinking & growing with readings/meeting ideas
  • Structure of meetings. For DASIG, these aspects of the meetings worked:
    • Co-facilitation: was an innovative structure, and encouraged people to prepare for meetings differently
    • Varied agendas and formats for our work: for example, discussing readings, planning for events, sharing research, participating in facilitated workshops, etc. – this kept it interesting and productive
    • Ground Rules: we set ground rules at the start of our year’s work together
    • Communication and planning: we knew what to expect
    • Blog and wiki: kept us in communication with each other
    • Reflection at the end of each meeting: saying what made us think at the end of each meeting helped to reflect on and solidify our learning from each session and encouraged us to apply what seemed most relevant to us to our daily work and lives
  • Partnerships with other groups on campus: building relationships with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE), including Student Diversity Initiatives (SDI: the Multicultural Engagement Center (MEC) and the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC)), the Diversity Education Initiative (DEI), and the Campus Climate Response Team (CCRT) as well as with the Department of African and African Diasporic Studies (AADS).
    • Building on our members’ relationships to grow relationships across the Libraries, including Kristen’s relationships with GSC and AADS and Jennifer’s relationship with Jaime – these relationships are already growing, so each of us now have relationships with specialists who have joined us this semester. We can each use those relationships going forward.
  • Workshop and panel with campus specialists from the DEI, MEC, GSC, and AADS. This worked because:
    • We had a great turnout (64 staff members)
    • It got the conversation going
  • DASIG training sessions facilitated by Dr. Betty Jeanne Taylor. These worked because the sessions provided:
    • Space for self reflection among the group
    • Tools for us to learn from and come back to (like our identities worksheet and our lists)
  • DASIG actions as a group.
    • Our successful actions included:
      • Advocating for gender neutral bathrooms in the Learning Commons build
      • Organizing the workshop and panel event
      • Sharing feedback including questions reflecting need for skills in diversity advocacy in the VP/Director search
      • Creating a final report of recommendations after our first year
    • These actions were successful because they created organizational impact and because they:
      • Helped us to feel involved
      • Introduced us to new people
      • Created opportunities for us to build our relationships
  • Our relationships with each other and our commitment to DASIG:
    • We have lots of ideas
    • We are open to new ideas
    • We take this group seriously

What CHALLENGED us in DASIG this year:
We prioritized this group of challenges:

  • Choosing priorities & focus:
    • We were a brand new organization, and it has not been clear how to prioritize our focus
    • The Libraries are constantly changing, so priorities seem like a moving target in relationship to what’s happening Libraries-wide
    • The issues we’re working with all feel urgent
  • Using DASIG influence: it has been a challenge to stay focused outside of our DASIG meetings, to hold DASIG in our minds so that we can use what we learn here and the fact of our membership to influence other planning discussions in our units and Libraries-wide
  • Time commitment: we are all busy, and our other commitments can interfere with our work; our meeting structure was also time-consuming (requiring co-facilitation of two sessions in a row, requiring meeting together before each meeting)
  • Future leadership & sustainability of the group: this is in flux and depends on support we may see from administration
  • Including new members in the group and ensuring they feel ownership over the group as well
  • Lacking top-down communication and promotion: policies or vision that bolster and require diversity action would enable our recommendations to inform organizational change

We also listed these challenges:

  • Group structure:
    • Diversity of our group: we discussed at the start of our meetings the challenge of diversity action organizing in a largely-white organization; we discussed the importance of not having a group made up entirely of people with historically-privileged identities (white, straight, middle-class, grew up as an English-language speaker, temporarily able-bodied, etc.); we acknowledged the importance of challenging a privileged perspective of our work
    • Group size: we talked about how to figure out what size works best for the group
  • Challenging topics: The topics we are dealing with are challenging
  • Lots of ideas: it’s sometimes difficult to share a common goal because we have lots of ideas
  • Expectations: we each bring different expectations of what the group is for, our purpose, our vision and the relationship with the Libraries

Our STRATEGIES for CHANGE: We can take action now by:

  • Facilitation structure: We will have one facilitator per meeting who “owns” the meeting; they will create the agenda, call for additional agenda items, share the agenda, and facilitate the meeting; we will not have a pre-meeting
  • Group leadership structure: We discussed the possibility of moving to a one-chair/leader structure
  • Accountability: We will create expectations and accountability for all members
  • Impacting the organization: We will generate a list of activities and steps to those activities as possible responses to issues that come up (when raised by others or by us), so that we can recruit others to help or share these steps out for others to take action when an issue arises
  • March 11 meeting: We will gather to give our proposal and recommendations to the Administrative Council; after we hear news of possible implementation of any of these, we will review and take action on our membership and leadership changes
  • Next meeting plans: We will look back to the challenges we prioritized and how we’ll take action on these