Defining terms including “institutional racism” and exploring the significance of Juneteenth are just a couple of items included in Texas A&M University Libraries’ new Anti-Racism LibGuide resource.
The library guide highlights information from places including The Smithsonian, The Aspen Institute and Stanford University, along with audio and video meant to explain issues such as structural inequalities against Black, Indigenous and other people of color.
Marisol Moreno, diversity program coordinator for Texas A&M University Libraries, said she and colleagues Chance Medlin and Jillian Eslami were inspired to create the guide in part because of the nationwide protests after George Floyd’s death. Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis after an officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.
“Creating the LibGuide allowed us to inform students, staff, faculty and community members of the resources that we already have in our collections, which we felt might be helpful as a starting point,” Moreno said. “The resources included in the LibGuide not only help to inform us of learned attitudes and behaviors that settle into our subconscious, but allow us to listen to the voices of activists and scholars that have experienced institutional racism.”
Collecting and assembling information for the guide took about a week, Moreno said. The resource includes podcast suggestions and recommendations for adult and children’s books.
“As we mention in the guide, children are never too young to learn and actively challenge systems of oppression,” Moreno said. “Children are very aware and adopt our attitudes and behaviors. So if we intend to have an inclusive society, we have to ask ourselves, ‘What are we teaching the next generation? Whose stories are we telling, and who are we leaving out?’ ”
Since the Anti-Racism LibGuide went live on June 18, Moreno said it has been viewed more than 1,100 times.
Officials want to find ways to expand the guide, Moreno said, and potentially think of other issues to address in a similar format.
Libraries’ Dean David Carlson told Texas A&M Today that libraries are in a unique position to support the university’s diversity plan.
“We believe the Libraries are the most diverse place on campus,” he said in the article . “We are open to all faculty, all students and all staff without regard to major, class position, academic standing or background. But it is not just all facilities — it is also our resources, our amazing and expansive collection of books and articles that contains the voices of authors from all type of backgrounds, opinions, cultures and views.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, library officials had a physical resource table where items on topics like National Stalking Awareness Month were promoted, Moreno said, but now many items have been shifted online, such as this new Anti-Racism LibGuide, resources related to the LGBTQ community and more.
“I hope folks will come to the LibGuide with an open mind,” Moreno said, “explore the resources and learn from the experiences of Black activists and scholars, many of whom have been challenging institutional racism over generations.”
To view the guide, visit tamu.libguides.com/antiracismlibguide.
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