November in the United States is Native American Heritage Month, also referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. It celebrates the rich history and diversity of America’s native peoples and educates the public about historical and current challenges they face. Native American Heritage Month was first declared by presidential proclamation in 1990 […]
As part of the UCF Libraries’ enthusiastic support of maintaining an inclusive space in the UCF community, we routinely offer a variety of workshops and activities throughout the year. A goal of the Libraries is to ensure that every Knight feels like UCF welcomes them with open arms. The programs offered by the library help UCF community members from various cultures and perspectives know that we see and value their contributions, as well as provide information to community members who might not have previously been exposed to those cultures or perspectives.
The tabbed sections above describe some of the Libraries’ initiatives related to fostering a sense of inclusion and respect through our collections, spaces, and online presence; increasing exposure to diverse perspectives, ideas, and backgrounds; and removing barriers to information resources, services, facilities, and technology.
DIVerse Families Bookshelf
UCF librarians recognized that locating books that mirror the diverse backgrounds of today’s families can be a difficult task. The Diverse Families Bookshelf was born to address this deficit. The Diverse Families Bookshelf is a comprehensive bibliography and corresponding website that reflects the growing diversity of families in the United States. Each book in the database has been read and evaluated for diversity not only based upon the words, but also the vital message within the illustrations.
Work coming from this effort includes School of Teacher Education students who write lessons plans to accompany books within the database, KnightEd Talks devoted to finding children’s literature that promotes diversity and inclusion, and a diversity audit of the CMC picture book collection and a conscious effort to acquire materials that promote diversity and inclusion to fill gaps in that collection.
Speak Your Truth
Speak Your Truth: A Queer History of UCF is an archival project exploring the history of the queer experience at the University of Central Florida. LGBTQIA+ Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are asked to share their experiences at UCF to help establish a primary sourced digital repository housed in STARS that will be available to scholars. Planned additions to the repository include histories of student LGBTQIA+ clubs, LGBTQ+ Services, and the Pride Faculty and Staff Association (PFSA).
The Libraries consciously collects books, videos, journals, primary sources and electronic databases that reflect cultural, ethnic, and gender diversity, and with international scope. For example:
- African American Communities (two centuries of oral history, official records, newspapers, etc.)
- American Indian Newspapers (news on indigenous peoples of the US and Canada 1828-2016)
- Asian American Drama (Plays by Asian American playwrights 19th century to contemporary)
- Diversity Studies (Newspaper and magazine articles)
- eHRAF World Cultures (ethnographic collections covering all aspects of cultural and social life)
- Ethnic NewsWatch (full-text articles of the ethnic and minority presses)
- Mango Languages (practical lessons of 70+languages, e.g. Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, or Pirate)
- Race Relations in America (Records from Race Relations Department in 1943-70 on civil rights)
- World Scholar: Latin America & the Caribbean (Articles, maps, statistics and AV for the areas)
Special Collections’ holdings include materials related to the experiences of Black people in America. There also are materials documenting women’s history, such as the “Judith and Warren Kaplan Collection, Women’s and Gender Studies” collection. Several collections document the work of women artists including the “Joy Postle Papers, 1910-2015” and the “Susan King and Paradise Collection, 1908-2009.” Complementing Special Collections is University Archives, which holds publications, records, photographs and other materials on the University of Central Florida from its beginnings in 1963 to the present. Among its collections are documents and memorabilia of events held at UCF in remembrance of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the Women’s Club Papers, The Black Faculty and Staff Association Records, the Judaic Studies Program: Distinguished Lecturers Series Records, Equal Opportunity Office Records, and the Brown, Black, and White Collection commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education.
It should come as no surprise that having access to assigned course materials from day one is an important component of student success. Many UCF students find the cost of textbooks and other course materials a barrier, creating an equity gap between students with the financial means to purchase course materials and those who do not. Further, the faces and voices in mainstream textbooks may not reflect or adequately represent cultures and perspectives of UCF’s diverse student population.
To that end, UCF Libraries offers multiple options for faculty interested in lowering the cost of textbooks and/or in providing course materials that provide multiple perspectives. UCF Libraries has a dedicated Textbook Affordability librarian who has tracked almost 400 classes using open or library-sourced materials. To date, UCF faculty have reached over 20,000 students, potentially saving them over $2,000,000. Note that potential savings are calculated as cost of a new book by number of course enrollments.
Along the same lines as equitable access to course materials is access to open journal articles, monographs, and research data. By definition, Open Access materials are free of cost or other barriers and open to all. UCF Libraries has a dedicated Scholarly Communication Librarian who advocates for OA publishing and provides workshops and programming for the UCF community on this and other topics. STARS, UCF’s institutional repository, is a cloud-based platform that hosts open scholarly artifacts that researchers and students around the globe can freely access.
The Libraries offers a variety of research guides with resources and information on EDI-related topics. Guides range from Speak Your Truth: A Queer History of UCF, an archival project exploring the history of the queer experience at the University of Central Florida (with LGBTQ+ Services and Office of Diversity & Inclusion), to Equal Pay Day programming and special events and a Reading Lists guide.
Librarians serve as engagement liaisons to targeted student groups and as faculty advisors and mentors. While current engagement assignments provide outreach and support to international, FYE, transfer, HIM, and graduate students, additional assignments will be made – as staffing allows – to historically underserved or underrepresented students. Librarians have served as President and Interim President of UCF Pride LGBTQ+ Faculty and Staff Association and as mentors with UCF’s LGBTQ+ Services. Another librarian currently serves as faculty advisor to the Filipino Student Association and mentors entering Filipino students on an on-going basis.
The John C. Hitt Library renovation also provides an opportunity to create more inviting and accessible space. An “accessibility audit” was conducted to inform renovation configurations and furniture, and a gender-neutral restroom and family rest room are planned for the library renovation. UCF Libraries has a dedicated Accessibility librarian, who collaborates with Student Accessibility Services to ensure that our services and resources are accessible to all patrons. In addition to ensuring that library spaces, materials, and equipment are available for those with physical challenges, students with learning and attention disorders have access to literacy software on every computer, a variety of private study areas on a quiet floor, and many library materials in multiple formats (e.g., captioned streaming videos and ebooks that can be read aloud and highlighted).
Programming and Events
In collaboration with campus units (such as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion) and academic departments and faculty, UCF Libraries provides a robust slate of EDI-related programming throughout the year. A selection of programs from the past three years follows.
Diversity Week @ UCF Libraries
Diversity Week at UCF Libraries is a series of events and films around a yearly theme promoted by the UCF Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI). Many Libraries events are hosted in collaboration with ODI. Themes have included Empowering Equity (2019), A New Day Dawns (2018), and Transform and Inspire Inclusion (2017).
IT&R Diversity Taskforce training events:
- ABC’s of Diversity, (4x a year)
- LGBTQ+ 101 SafeZone, (with LGBTQ+ Services), July 2017
- Safe Zone Advocates, (with LGBTQ+ Services), August 2017
- Minority Religions 101, (with Religion & Cultural Studies Program), October 10, 2017
- Gender, Orientation & Language Diversity (GOLD) workshop, (with LGBTQ+ Services), June 28, 2019
Faculty and campus unit collaboration events:
- A variety of workshops offered to STEM PRIME students on Engineering Resources, Presentation Skills Basics, and Science Resources, 2019 (Sandy Avila and Ven Basco with TRiO Center, SDES)
- Día de los Muertos film screening/discussion, display alter, and crafts table, (with Anthropology)
- Open Heart Open Mic events, (with Women & Gender Studies), 2017 series
- WomanFest (with Women & Gender Studies Program), 2017, 2018, and 2019
- Religion & Sexuality film series, (with Religion & Cultural Studies Program), Fall 2018
- Cults & Charisma film series, (with Religion & Cultural Studies Program), Fall 2019
- Harvest of Shame, (with Women & Gender Studies Program), March 27, 2017
- Iron Jawed Angels, (with Women & Gender Studies Program), March 27, 2018
- Faculty author talks, including Mean Little Deaf Queer author talk with Terry Galloway April 2017 and Dr. Kim Voss (Women’s History), March 8, 2019
- Latinx Activists display for Día de los Muertos, (with Women & Gender Studies Program), October 2019
Student and community collaboration events:
- She’s the First: Femicide in Latin America panel discussion, (with NOW at UCF), April 2018
- Bras for Breast Cancer craft event and display, 2018 and 2019
- How to Be a Feminist in the Workplace webinar, (with AAUW), April 14, 2017
- Out in the Open (LGBTQIA), May 17, 2017
- Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria, (Transgender Day of Visibility), March 2018, and (LGBTQIA Pride Month), June 27, 2018
- What You Are (LGBTQIA Pride Month), June 7, 2018
- A Simple Matter of Justice (LGBTQIA Pride Month), June 21, 2018
- Coming Out: 50-year History (National Coming Out Day), October 11, 2018
- Open Relationships and Polyamory 101, (LGBTQIA+ History Month), October 9, 2018
- On the Margins of Queer: Asexuality and Aromanticism, (LGBTQIA+ History Month), October 30, 2019
The Hitt Library also hosts monthly thematic displays highlighting resources related to identified topics. The displays are promoted on social media and have been profiled in university and local media outlets.
Monthly Featured Bookshelf
- February: Black History
- March: Women’s History
- May: Asian Pacific American Heritage
- June: LGBTQIA Pride
- July: American History
- September: Hispanic Heritage
- October: UCF Celebrates Diversity
- November: Native American Heritage
Short Term Displays
- Book award winners during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, (Asian Pacific American Award for Literature), May 2017
- Women at Work, (with Women & Gender Studies Program), March 2019
- LGBTQIA History Month, (with LGBTQ+ Services), October 2019
- Diversity Week Committee Suggested Readings, October 2019
Diversity Week Interactive Displays
- 2017: “How Do You Inspire Inclusion?” wall, patrons encouraged to leave a “leaf” on the tree saying how they inspire inclusion at UCF, and “We Come from All Over” map, patrons encouraged to add a pin to the map showing where they were born/raised
- 2018: “A New Day Dawns” wall asking patrons to leave a note saying what they hope tomorrow brings, “We Come from All Over” map, patrons encouraged to add a pin to the map showing where they were born/raised, and “Diverse Families Bibliography” book display at the CMC
- 2019: “Empowering Equity for All: How Do We Get There from Here?” wall, patrons encouraged to leave a note on how we can promote equity, “We Come from All Over” map, patrons encouraged to add a pin to the map showing where they were born/raised, and “Diverse Families Bibliography” book display at the CMC.
Join the UCF Libraries and the UCF Department of Anthropology in celebrating Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. This is a traditional Mexican holiday when families and friends gather to honor and remember those that have died. Typically on Day of the Dead, elaborate altars are created and offerings are made to […]
Every October UCF celebrates Diversity Week. This year’s dates are October 14 – 18, and the theme is Empowering Equity. University-wide departments and groups champion the breadth and culture within the UCF community, and work to increase acceptance and inclusion for everyone at UCF and the surrounding communities. One of the fantastic things about UCF […]
Have you ever read Bridge to Terabithia or The Hunger Games? Then you’ve read a book banned for its religious viewpoint. What about And Tango Makes Three or I Am Jazz? They were banned for having LGBTQ+ characters. American Library Association’s Banned Books Week is September 22 – 28. It celebrates the wide range of […]
From megalomaniac leaders to mass suicides, the word cult is an overwhelmingly negative one in popular culture. This series digs deeper by considering what draws people to such groups, how charisma is constructed, and how boundaries between religions and cults are delineated. Each movie will be followed by a facilitated discussion by a religion and […]
For further information about diversity initiatives at UCF Libraries, please contact Penny Beile.
For more detailed information about UCF Libraries EDI-related activities, please see our UCF Libraries EDI-related Initiatives 2019 Report in STARS.