Monday Update: Library EDI
Hi, UW-Parkside Community! Welcome to this first Monday Update of Spring Semester 2021!
The Library is happy to write this edition to let you know about our activities and how you can be involved.
- The Library is Open!
- Black History Month
- This year’s Big Read: Lab Girl
First big news: The Library is Open!
We were anticipating a mid-February opening, but we received news that the construction crews needed to open the L1 corridor entrance suddenly last week. There are a few interior projects to complete, but soon the library will have desktop computers, the large-format scanner, copiers, and b/w and color printers for student [and staff] use.
The library now offers expanded study space [still following pandemic protocols], a staffed circulation desk, and research help librarians onsite Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. –1:00 p.m., and online during business hours. Please follow safety signs where construction is still progressing.
Exciting changes continue for Parkside’s library, including new glass doors and library security gates (Photo on below)
Library staff are available to show you the features of the new space, and you can participate in some online semester-opening events – a social media-based prize drawing, an online escape room, and a film of the progress in the space. If you’re on campus, you can see the film in the new space, and we will send you on your way with take-along snacks! Once all library space is up and running, we’ll live stream a brief soft opening ceremony. And of course, post-pandemic, we want to invite you to a Grand, Making-Up-For-Lost-Time, No-Holds-Barred Opening Extravaganza! May that day come quickly!
If you have any questions about the library or its services or resources, including borrowing from other campuses, available technology for use or checkout, library rooms and spaces, or anything else, see uwp.edu/library or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Black History Month
As we begin Black History Month, we contemplate the most recent history we have witnessed and follow as it unfolds daily. Our campus, community, and citizens across the country work together toward racial equity and antiracism. The library staff met [at a healthy distance] in Petrifying Springs in August to discuss our response.
We prepared by reading recent works by Black American authors, determined to listen to their voices and experiences as authoritative, knowing that we all have much to learn. We gathered these books and others in an Antiracism Collection. A further collection, Own Voices, contains books featuring diverse characters written by authors of the same cultural group. I encourage you to use materials in these collections.
We will feature two books per week in February on UW-P Library Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites. These books were chosen in consultation with Assistant Dean of Students and OMSA Director Damian Evans. The library recently added a comprehensive collection of primary documents: the Black Freedom Struggle database. News articles, correspondence, diaries, and more detail specific historical periods.
Librarians also created a page on our website, How to Library for Social Justice. It provides antiracism resources and links to sites of groups fighting for racial justice. There we ask how we as a library can better serve BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and People of Color] and pursue antiracism. An anonymous form allows anyone to give feedback. Tell us what you are thinking. We want to listen. Post-pandemic, we plan to meet with student groups that focus on racial and ethnic communities and issues to discuss what more we can do to make their experience an equitable one.
We would also like to serve our campus community with a diverse library staff. However, few BIPOC serve as library professionals, a notable exception being Carla Hayden, our country’s current Librarian of Congress! To change that, we plan to recruit more students of color to library and information science professions. We are playing the long game through a developing partnership with the UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies. The school will create an event featuring graduate students and alumni of color to talk with Parkside students about library and information science careers in academic, public, and other libraries, records management, and archives.
With the most diverse student body in the system, we’re sure Parkside has some excellent candidates for graduate school in library science and that our students would love to work in this evolving field. Look for information about the event later this semester.
Once again, the UW-Parkside Library will team up with Kenosha Public Library, which has received a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read grant this year to distribute Lab Girl, a memoir by the biogeologist Hope Jahren. The library took on the challenge of hosting a Big Read during a pandemic, and we will contribute several events.
On Wednesday March 3, women faculty members from CNHS and CBEC will lead a discussion of Lab Girl from 7:00–8:15 online in an event titled “Being and Becoming Scientists.” Also, in a short film compiled on campus, several panelists will discuss their path to science, dreams, and obstacles. The film will be available online for the public. On March 21, from 1-3 p.m., we will host “Trees, Seeds and Soil - An Outdoor Parkside Campus Tour.” The socially-distanced event will focus on the Solar Farm, the Community Garden, the Rusty Patch Bumblebee habitat, Maple Syrup production, and more in cooperation with CNHS faculty and other campus partners. You will hear more about these events as they approach.
To participate in the Big Read, you may want to read Lab Girl. The library will distribute 200 copies onsite to the campus community on a first come, first served basis, starting around February 15th. KPL will distribute further copies at their libraries around Kenosha. See all of the events on the Big Read website.
Welcome Back, Rangers! Good Luck in the Spring 2021 Semester! See you in the Library!
Happy New Year and Welcome from Chancellor Ford
In my reflections of 2020, I thought about how we as a learning community came together to help each other stay healthy, deliver our mission, and do our part individually and collectively to reduce the spread of COVID-19. I am appreciative and grateful for how everyone joined together to do their part at UW-Parkside. The best evidence of our shared vision is through the graduates we celebrated at our December 2020 Commencement Celebration. Even though the celebration was virtual, the photos of members of the class of 2020 on social media told inspiring stories of student success.
Thank you for continuing to prepare, to adapt, to pivot, and to innovate. I know we are tired of dealing with the pandemic and its impacts on our personal and professional lives and I know we want to get back to the new normal, but this pandemic is not done with us. So, as we begin the Spring 2021 semester, I ask you to continue to follow the health protocols, wear your masks, get tested every other week in the Ranger Hall Testing Clinic, monitor your email for updates on the University’s COVID-19 response and vaccine information, and continue to give each other space and grace. By working together, we will continue to persevere.
I also started a few new books during the semester break and found a great quote to summarize the first two decades of this century. Jim Collins and his late mentor, Bill Lazier share in BE 2.0 (2020), “If the first two decades of the 21st Century have taught us anything, it’s that uncertainty is chronic; instability is permanent; disruption is common; and we can neither predict or govern events. There will be no “new normal”; there will only be a continuous series of “not normal” episodes, defying prediction and unforeseen by most of us until they happen (p.15).”
At UW-Parkside, we are educating our students and graduates to persevere through uncertainty and to lead through these next not-so-normal episodes. I am confident that we are transforming lives and educating the next generation of leaders across many professions.
As we celebrate the beginning of Black History Month, you are invited to join the Courageous Conversations About Race (2005) Study Group led by Dr. Sheronda Glass. The author, Glenn Singleton, reminds us, “As educators engage in, sustain, and deepen interracial dialogue about race with each other and with students and their families, systems can truly support all learners in achieving at higher levels. As schools work toward equity, they will narrow the gaps between the highest and lowest performing groups and eliminate racial predictability regarding which groups achieve in the highest and lowest performing categories” (p.6)
We have a few copies of the book available in my office and we meet every other Wednesday from 4:30 – 6:00 virtually. We will be discussing chapter three this week so you still have time join us. Send an email to me at email@example.com or to Jenny Schaefer at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a copy of this book.
As we continue on our quest to become a more equitable and inclusive learning environment, we must commit to deeper conversations about race and student success. Inspiring, supporting, challenging, and educating our graduates through formal and informal learning and eliminating equity gaps remain our top priorities as we enter the third decade of the 21st century.
I look forward to seeing you in person on campus or virtually as we begin this new semester together. Our learning environment continues to transform and things look very different as construction continues in Wyllie Hall and in the Sports and Activity Center. Be patient as this work proceeds and we will be able to enjoy these new learning spaces soon!
Last, I want to take the time to welcome Dr. George Vukotich, who has been appointed as founding director of the Center for Research in Innovation and Smart Cities. George leverages background in corporate, consulting, military, startup, and educational environments to develop and implement process improvement and major organizational changes. We’re excited to have George join our team and look forward to seeing the Center’s mission, vision and values in action. Welcome George!
Thank you for all you do with and for our students and one another. Feel free to reach out to share your stories and reflections with me. Be well!
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