Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statements on Academic Library Websites
An Analysis of Content, Communication, and Messaging
Post-secondary education in the 21st century United States is rapidly diversifying, and institutions’ online offerings and presence are increasingly significant. Academic libraries have an established history of offering virtual services and providing online resources for students, faculty, staff, and the general public. In addition to these services and resources, information on academic library websites can contribute to an institution’s demonstration of value placed on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This article analyzes the DEI statements of a library consortium’s member websites to explore how these statements contribute to institutional construction of, and commitment to, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Descriptive analysis revealed 12 of 16 member libraries had explicitly labeled DEI statements in November 2020, with an additional member updating their website to include such a statement in early 2021. Content analysis examined how the existing statements contributed to institutional value of and commitment to DEI, and multi-modal theory explored the communicative aspects of DEI statement content. Analysis revealed vague conceptualizations of diversity and library-centered language in DEI statements, while a subset of statements employed anti-racist and social justice language to position the library as an active agent for social change. Implications and avenues for future research are discussed.
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