20 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 301 2020 Midwinter 2019.22 The messaging is clear that conversations about DEI are on trend for the field of libraries. Yet, for diversity practitioners, this work is not trendy, and people’s lives are not trends. For diversity practitioners—or professional feminists—this is not a supplemental or additional lens through which their work is viewed rather, this encompasses the entire methodology and framework upon which their approach to their work relies. Put another way, Sara Ahmed writes, “Feminists are diversity workers in the first sense: we are trying to transform institutions by challenging who they are for. We have feminist centers and feminist programs because we do not have feminist universities.”23 So too is Ahmed’s assertion true with university libraries. In UEP we strive to challenge who the university library is for, how student success is defined, and how students have a sense of belonging within the library as an institution. In developing the UEP, it is further underscored to us that the library is not a silo but the nucleus of a larger structure with arms stretching out throughout the entirety of the university. Our choice to call for a feminist approach of belonging to the UEP is vitally important given the larger truth that institutions such as libraries and universities are inherently embedded with institutional racism, white supremacy, ableism, ageism, classism, heteropatriarchy, and transphobia.24 Just as we know that we must acknowledge and often work within neoliberal rhetoric, we also know that we must push beyond those very boundaries to make real the transformative promise of student success in the academic library. To do this is to reimagine the idea of student success and to understand that dominant narratives of student success are not the only form of student success. In centering our various communities within UIC, students teach us as librarians what success looks like to them and for them, but we have to be open to listening to their needs. Yet Ahmed also offers this warning: “Feminist work in addressing institutional failure is appropriated as evidence of institutional
Previous Page Next Page