Now is our time to act. The University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) is re-committing its efforts to identify and address systemic racism, including anti-Black racism and racism against those who are Indigenous within our department and library systems. This is the moment for us as a community and as individual members within that community to be definitively and explicitly anti-racist in resolutions and with concrete, measurable actions.
This work to combat racism will not be easy. We recognize that it is messy, uncomfortable, disquieting, deeply personal and humbling. We acknowledge that this work is necessary and that there is much more that needs to be done. We recognize that as we learn, we will make mistakes. We commit to owning those errors and taking responsibility for them in ways that support those who have been harmed by them. We will be patient with one another. We know that we must keep moving forward, to build trust and enact systemic change.
We consider this to be a living document; one that will evolve as we make progress, learn and grow. Our Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee is doing important work. This document and its accompanying action list highlight that this work is collective, ongoing and extends beyond any one committee. We expect all UTL staff to be committed to this critical work. We will hold ourselves accountable.
UTL commits to:
Building a workplace culture of inclusivity. We will strengthen our best practices related to recruitment and retention to uncover systemic biases. In order to grow greater staff diversity at all levels, we will implement an audit of our recruitment practices and we will ensure that onboarding and training for newly hired staff highlights our commitment to IDE values and practices. Work is underway to collaborate with Jodie Glean, Director, Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office, to initiate this audit.
Ensuring systemic change occurs throughout the UTL system, including but not limited to public service, collection development, culturally appropriate metadata, library technology and use of space. As an example, the Indigenous Matters Community of Practice is doing important work by facilitating communal learning on Indigenous issues and being responsive to our Indigenous users. Holding ourselves accountable by regularly reviewing and assessing the action list and reflecting on our progress individually and collectively. The action list will be a living document that all staff can add to.
Opening up mindful spaces for dialogue, discussion, unlearning and learning. We have resources available for reading, reflection and dialogue. We will collectively build this resource list, make it consistently available through our staff newsletter In the Loop and develop a schedule of ongoing, facilitated discussion groups.
Building staff capacity through required and necessary professional development and training. As articulated by our Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee’s work plan, there is a need for ongoing training and programming. As an initial area of focus, we have identified unconscious bias training as a helpful way forward. We will look to build this training out across the entire UTL system by seeking training support from the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office.