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Library Diversity Committee


This guide is a resource created by The Washington University Libraries’ Diversity Committee. This supports the University's values with respect to diversity and is dedicated to creating a more inclusive, welcoming, and respectful organizational culture that appreciates and supports individual differences.

The Committee hopes to provide leadership in reinforcing a broad interpretation of diversity by providing resources and programs that expand knowledge and experiences of diversity for the library staff and the wider university community.


"Diversity is in constant motion at Washington University in St. Louis in myriad ways."  

                                                                                                    --from WUSTL Diversity: Our Stories & Events




Definition of Terms


Diversity refers to demographics and representation. Are people from a wide range of backgrounds, identities, and life experiences represented throughout the university? Are university demographics representative of national demographics? Consideration of diversity includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, physical ability, and socio-economic status.


Equity focuses on outcomes. For example, it is possible to have a diverse faculty population, but have outcomes for that population, in terms of leadership appointments, tenure, or other recognitions, that do not reflect its demographics. Equity is thus different from equality — equality means treating all members of the community the same. However, because of generations of unequal treatment throughout the history of our country, higher education generally, and Washington University specifically, supporting equitable outcomes often calls for giving different support to different groups.


Diversity is about ensuring that the people at the table represent a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives. Inclusion focuses on making sure those people can bring their whole selves to the table, and that their voices are valued. In an inclusive culture, all members of the community are invited and able to contribute their unique talents and perspectives — and feel a sense of belonging in community life and decision-making.


Climate describes how it feels to exist in the university community. Is the climate welcoming, open, inclusive? Members of different demographic groups may feel quite differently about the university climate. The objective of the Academy is to help the university develop a climate that is welcoming and inclusive to all members of the university community.


Culture can be defined as “how we do things around here.” Because policies, processes, and practices have such an impact on outcomes, examining and improving the university culture is a key element in making the university more equitable and inclusive. Policies, processes, and practices such as how decisions are made, how budgets are allocated, and who is involved in those decisions should be considered as we work toward a more inclusive culture.

The definitions are from the Washington University Academy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Orientation Document