Counterspace Support for BIPOC Employees Within a Holistic JEDI Library Framework

Counterspace Support for BIPOC Employees Within a Holistic JEDI Library Framework

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-7255-2.ch001
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This chapter presents a case study of how an academic library supports Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) employees with funding so these workers can find counterspaces (spaces where they can feel safe in community with other BIPOC who are navigating similar struggles while working in a predominantly white institution). Through its Inclusion, Diversity, Anti-Racism and Equity (IDARE) Committee, the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst Libraries worked to establish a fund for meeting some of the cultural and racial equity needs of library employees who are BIPOC. With a new Woman of Color Dean, the fund transformed into a funding priority and criterion that puts the needs of BIPOC employees at the center, while asking everyone in the library to undertake JEDI work and view all of their work through a JEDI lens. This chapter discusses the “Why” and the “How” of this JEDI initiative, placing it in the context of a larger holistic vision for inclusive librarianship outlined by current and former BIPOC employees and the JEDI vision of the Dean and her leadership team.
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The What

Libraries can heed the call for racial healing by making funding clearly and easily available to racially marginalized and underrepresented workers to find counterspaces: community where they would not feel so culturally and racially isolated. Here we outline why and how we did this at our university library.

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