Penrose Library supports Whitman College’s efforts towards Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and we have drafted our own statement affirming this. These examples are ways we as a library have begun to create more inclusive and responsive library services and spaces. However, we recognize that this work is ongoing and never complete. We welcome feedback on how we can continue to improve Penrose Library
Collections and Metadata
Implemented a Diversity Awards Plan through its primary book vendor, GOBI. This service adds nearly 100 award-winning titles to the collection on an annual basis.
Routine reviews of existing and new acquisitions to ensure inclusive descriptions of the materials are provided.
Ongoing review and addition of content warnings to material in ARMINDA that contains outdated or racist content (e.g., Whitman students in blackface); redescribe and contextualize offensive images that have historic or pedagogical value.
Efforts with Maxey Museum to remediate and redescribe indigenous collections.
The Whitman College and Northwest Archives are building oral history collections that better represent both institutional and regional histories:
- Whitman LGBTQ+ Oral History Project, The Walla Walla Coronavirus Stories Project and The Listeners Project: Queremos Escucharte are the first projects to systematically collect Spanish language material for the archives.
The Archives contributed photographs and research support for the planning of the Long Tent installation in April 2022.
The Archives hosted our first Institutional History Fellow in 2021-22, who did a project on the history of the Whitman in China program.
We have revised and developed new credit-bearing courses that explicitly incorporate aspects of DEIA work such as:
- Library 100 emphasizes critical examinations of power and oppression in sources and systems when approaching research,
- Library 150 focuses on archival silences, marginalized voices, and the political nature of archival spaces,
- Library 160 asks students to identify and repair gaps in Whitman’s archival collections,
- Library 120 focuses on access to information as a method for promoting inclusion, understanding the impact of technology on power relations, and how these forces can disproportionately impact marginalized communities.
Spaces / Access
- Improved signage in the library for gender-neutral restrooms.
- Created reading lists, exhibits, and displays focused on topics including anti-racism, trans awareness, and ending poverty.
- We welcome opportunities to collaborate on exhibits and book displays with partners on campus. We welcome suggestions and collaborations from students interested in creating displays in the library (see our Exhibit Proposal Form).
- We improved the accessibility of our website in 2021 to ensure navigation by keyboard and other assistive devices.
- We have updated interlibrary loan workflows to make materials scanned for our partners and patrons more accessible.
Training / Planning
- Library staff as a whole have participated in a number of campus-wide and library-specific trainings on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and also creating cultures of belonging.