Monica Figueroa is a 2020 UNC Diversity Award Winner

April 20, 2020

Monica FigueroaMonica Figueroa, music cataloging librarian and interim librarian for inclusive excellence, is a recipient of the University’s 2020 Diversity Award. The award, in its twelfth year, recognizes significant contributions made by members of the University community toward advancing an inclusive climate for excellence in teaching, research, public service and academic endeavor.

Figueroa joined the University Libraries in 2016 as a music cataloging librarian. In the four years since then, she has taken a leadership role in steering equity and inclusion initiatives in the Library.

“Diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion are foundational values for our library,” said Elaine Westbrooks, vice provost for University Libraries and University librarian. “To see Monica’s work be recognized in this way validates her outstanding achievements that benefit our staff and our users.”

Those achievements have included transforming the work of the University Libraries’ Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Council. “Monica’s leadership has guided the council towards making the Library a more diverse and inclusive organization, and one that provides more inclusive services to our users,” wrote Doug Diesenhaus, the Libraries’ director of strategy, assessment, and space planning, in his nomination form for the award.

Figueroa has also brought a Racial Equity Institute Groundwater training to the University Libraries that was attended by more than 170 library employees; collaborated with other librarians on strategies to decolonize the presentation of information and data in research; and presented at a national conference about rethinking library catalog descriptions of indigenous populations in music and art.

In nominating Figueroa, social sciences librarian Kristan Shawgo wrote, “Her enthusiasm, advocacy and ambition are infectious and have moved the Library forward as we develop a more inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible environment for all university affiliates and the community.”

Congratulations to Monica and to all the awardees!