How Can College Libraries Contribute to Using a Global, DEIA, and/or Social Justice Lens in Education?

That’s the question your library faculty and staff continue to explore this Fall, not only by acquiring new DEI resources for our community and offering social justice focused events, but also in their work outside of the Library. 

“How can college libraries contribute to using a global/DEIA and/or social justice lens” is also the title of a focused discussion at this Friday’s Stanford University Global Education Network 9/23 zoom meet up where Skyline College Associate Professor and Outreach & Equity Librarian Sanjyot (Pia) Walawalkar is one of the featured speakers. Through her recent work to focus research and educational practice on critical information literacy and global citizenship, Walawalkar will frame an inquiry into how campus libraries contribute to using a global lens in education through social justice and diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism (DEIA) programs, services, or curriculum.

Library Support Specialist Lori Lisowski recently served on a state-wide Library Services Platform (LSP) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force.  Lisowski was one of the team leaders who coordinated efforts to draft a statement and pledge for the more than 110 California community colleges participating in the LSP.  The statement says in part:

“We acknowledge that our libraries are not neutral and may have served–sometimes inadvertently and other times intentionally–as instruments of exclusion, colonialism, and assimilation. We commit to implementing policies and taking concrete steps, large and small, to undo this harm and lead to systemic changes.”

As a result of the Task Force’s recommendations, the LSP Governance Committee created a permanent work group to spearhead implementation of additional measures, including addressing potentially harmful language in libraries’ online catalogs and making resources by and for historically marginalized populations more accessible. 

Library Collections & Upcoming Programs

If you’re not aware, the Library is in its second year of offering two library research databases important for DEI research and education. Any members of our community can log in (use your OneLogin credentials) to use these resources for free. 

Ethnic Newswatch is an interdisciplinary, bilingual (English and Spanish), full-text database of the newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native presses, designed to provide the “other side of the story.” Articles in this database are useful for students in disciplines like anthropology, communications, business, fashion, government, history, sociology, education and more, and especially for assignments comparing and contrasting news perspectives.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) e-book database contains e-books in the areas of Asian American Studies, Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Latino Studies and much more. This database was developed to represent all voices with a focus on gender, race, sexual orientation, physical ability and religious beliefs. The “DEI” database has thousands of timely books you can include in your syllabi or embed in Canvas for easy access. If you’re retooling your reading lists, it’s definitely worth your time to explore this new resource.

The Kanopy film database also has rich holdings you can assign to students, stream in class, or watch on your own. Some examples include I am not your Negro, The Farewell, Trust Me, and Misrepresentation. Last but not least, the Library has three upcoming programs planned for Fall, focused on free speech and voices less heard. You can find all the details in last week’s Skyline Shines article and from the Library’s calendar page. We look forward to seeing you in the Library (Building 5, 2nd floor) on Thursday, September 29 at 2pm for Writers Under Attack: Salman Rushdie, Banned Books and Freedom of Expression. All are welcome!

Article by Jessica Silver-Sharp

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