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DEI Toolkit: Supporting intellectual diversity

by Sarah McFadden on 2024-05-23T09:00:30-04:00 | 0 Comments

Overhead view of several people working together at a table. Text overlay: Epistemic Justice: DEI Toolkit in Action, Supporting students' intellectual diversity is an essential part of education.

“As a profession, librarians have a unique obligation to uphold intellectual freedom and are protected by the academic freedom to curate collections. Supporting students' intellectual diversity is an essential part of education.” 

--New York State Commissioner of Education Betty A. Rosa 

On April 25, 2024, Commissioner Betty A. Rosa released an important decision in an appeal filed by Moms for Liberty of Wayne County and Jacob Marchitell (petitioners) against the Clyde-Savannah School District. In this decision, Commissioner Rosa determined that petitioners’ arguments for the removal of five books from the School Library’s collection were without merit and determined that the school board of education correctly decided to retain the challenged books in its collection. 

As information workers deal increasingly with threats of content removal and other informational injustices, the need to protect and reclaim intellectual diversity is evident. The Office of Cultural Education's DEI Toolkit was prepared with restorative change and repair in mind. This collaborative, up-to-date publication includes resources and actionable items that cultural organizations can use to guide their restorative work. You’ll find resources on managing complex change, addressing discrimination, and having difficult conversations.  

We hope this resource helps organizations to meet this critical moment in library and information science. In particular, we hope library workers and leaders will explore a recent addition to the DEI Toolkit that highlights Dr. Beth Patin’s work on epistemicide, described as the silencing or devaluing of a knowledge system.  

“Addressing epistemicide is critical for information professionals because we task ourselves with handling knowledge from every field,” says Dr. Patin. “Acknowledgement of and taking steps to interrupt epistemic injustices and these specific harms are supportive of the social justice movements already happening.” 

If your organization is ready to take these steps, check out the DEI Toolkit.  

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