Creighton University libraries have launched the IDEA bookshelf, which consists of a physical bookshelf on the first floor of the Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library as well as an online guide.
The bookshelf and guide contain curated resources from multiple sources that deal with various topics on diversity and inclusion. IDEA stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-racism.
Chris Carmichael, the reference and web services librarian, was the initiator of this project but said that this was done with the help of library staff members Marcey Gibson, Marcella Dial, Jeanne Burke and David Buffington.
Carmichael said that after seeing diversity and inclusion become an even more salient issue, she was motivated to help initiate this bookshelf.
“We needed to be involved some way. And it was the right thing to do,” Carmichael said.
Carmichael said that because she is not a person of color, she felt the need to reach out to Gibson and Dial for help and advice on curating these resources for the bookshelf.
“I don’t have the expertise. I don’t have the personal experience,” Carmichael said.
Gibson, the acquisitions specialist, said that having lived through this summer, she understood that the materials relating to the Black Lives Matter movement would be a jumping-off point for the bookshelf but said she wanted to expand past that.
“I was fervent that we need to expand it. Obviously [BLM] is the jumping-off point, and that’s why it has its own tab [in the guide],” Gibson said. “But there is so much that needs to be talked about.”
Gibson said that, as one of the only people of color on the library staff, it was heartwarming to know that others cared about these issues.
“They recognized that we needed this material in the library,” Gibson said.
“There may not be people who look like you who you work with every day, but you know that ... they are on top of what is going on and that these are things that need to be in the collection,” Gibson said.
Gibson said that she hopes the IDEA bookshelf will help students at Creighton to be empathetic and to seek out and understand “the other.”
“I think it’s a really great addition to the library,” sophomore in the Heider College of Business Sunny Washington said. “It provides students with a way to help educate themselves.”
Christopher Whitt, vice provost for the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, said that he applauds the effort that has been put into the IDEA bookshelf.
“It’s a small step, a first step and it’s a good step for us moving forward,” Whitt said.
“Students would benefit themselves by engaging a curiosity in this space and really starting to look to see how [it might] apply to their spheres of influence,” Whitt said.
“It’s important because Creighton’s population has very few minorities and I think this is a good way for people who don’t typically come from a background with many minorities [...] to educate themselves on other cultures,” Washington said.
“I think that really engaging curiosity and recognizing that real, deep and intentional considerations of diversity, equity and inclusion ... that’s the way we’re moving in the future,” Whitt said.
Gibson said that the online IDEA bookshelf is a “living guide” that will continue to expand, and she welcomes students to suggest any materials to add to it.
Students who wish to recommend any materials to the IDEA bookshelf are encouraged to email Gibson at email@example.com.