University Libraries releases 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge syllabus

August 24, 2021

Libraries and library workers interested in examining racism, bias and inequity have a new tool to do so. The University Libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has released the syllabus of its recent 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge focused on libraries and archives.

The syllabus is the work of the University Libraries’ IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility) Council. It is part of the Library’s Reckoning Initiative, which commits to using equity, inclusion and social justice as a lens for its work.

In spring 2021, Library employees were invited to follow the daily syllabus in a shared experience of discovery and reflection. Participants in the voluntary program also had opportunities to come together for discussions and caucus meetings.

“We received a great deal of positive feedback from participants, who found themselves looking at their work in new ways,” said Monica Figueroa, interim librarian for inclusive excellence. “We hope that sharing our roadmap will encourage other institutions to use, adapt and expand it.”

Figueroa said that the IDEA Council modeled the syllabus on similar challenge exercises for general audiences and for other professions. The focus on library and archival work and workers distinguishes UNC-Chapel Hill’s syllabus from others.

The syllabus is available as an online accessible document and a downloadable interactive PDF under a Creative Commons license.

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