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The spring 2018 meeting of the Association of Southeast Research Libraries (ASERL) was held in Knoxville and hosted by the University of Tennessee. The focus of the meeting was how libraries contribute to student success and each dean/director was invited to bring a “student success librarian.” Meghan Webb represented ZSR and our work in this area.  The agenda was divided into two tracks for parts of the meeting with joint presentations for the reminder of the meeting. The weather (heavy rains from tropical storm Alberto) also impacted the meeting with one speaker unable to attend and several attendees having a challenging time arriving.

From the student success sessions, I came away with the following points:

  • Everyone knows that library use, especially in the first year, improves GPA
  • Assessing the Library’s impact is challenging
  • Decentralized data and privacy issues add to this assessment challenge
  • Centralized service also important to student success; UT has added “One Stop” stations in the Library that can address issues from the Bursar to Advising

One doesn’t generally consider an organizational business meeting as a highlight, but it was for me this year. First we passed ASERL’s Diversity & Inclusion statement, which I had drafted together with two other Board members (text is below). Second, I was elected as Secretary/Treasurer for ASERL. I had previously served as member-at-large on the Board.

Another piece of business discussed was the updating the ASERL BBQ guide. The meeting got a little “saucy” when the merits of BBQ sauces were discussed — Alabama white sauce was the most polarizing. For the updated version, each school was asked to review the up to three local BBQ joints on their list. For Wake we have listed Bib’s, Little Richards (now the Real Q), and Pig In-and-Out. I happen to be a fan of Camel City, but welcome your suggestions and/or updates! I plan to personally research each option.

Finally I took a couple days of vacation in western NC after the meeting. You can’t beat a view like this one from the Blue Ridge Parkway!

ASERL Diversity & Inclusion Programming Revised January 11, 2018

Values Statement

E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.

When libraries tap into the wisdom of a workforce that reflects the populations we serve, we are better able to understand and meet the needs of the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and researchers we serve. ASERL members believe we must make our workplaces, collections, and services more inclusive. ASERL libraries commit to make every employee feel welcomed and motivated to work optimally in service to our communities. We affirm that we achieve more together because of our differences, not despite them. When libraries apply this pool of knowledge — when employees are trained in team building, decision-making, problem solving, and conflict resolution — we provide better, more interesting, innovative services to each other and to our patrons.

ASERL’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

ASERL members will strive to:

  1.   Understand and communicate the principles of diversity and inclusion in order to attract,retain, and grow the skills of employees from a variety of populations;
  2.   Set achievable and measurable goals, and regularly monitor and assess progress towardsthose goals;
  3.   Seek constructive input from employees at all levels of our organizations to ensureprogramming is relevant and useful;
  4.   Allocate resources to ensure programing is successful and sustainable;
  5.   Build library collections that reflect the diversity of the communities we serve;
  6.   Maintain transparency regarding our successes and challenges over time;
  7.   Acknowledge impact of past and present actions.

Diversity is defined as the characteristics and attributes that make each one of us unique. Diversity has many dimensions, including race, gender, and physical ability. Other dimensions may include, but are not limited to, ethnicity, national origin, nationality, religion, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identification, and age. Even more broadly, diversity includes geographic location, work experience, family status, socio-economic class, and diversity of political thought. Our goal is to leverage the varied experiences and ideas that each individual brings for the good of the organization overall.

Adapted from

Diversity Is The Mix and Inclusion Is Making The Mix Work. More formally, diversity is the composition of individuals in a group. Inclusion is the requisite programs and organizational strategies that welcome and embrace the strengths each person brings to the mix.

Adapted from

Charge – ASERL Diversity & Inclusion Committee

In early 2018, the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries will create a new standing committee focused on our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. The ASERL Diversity and Inclusion Committee (AD&IC) will create strategies to develop diversity and inclusion in collections, programs, recruitment and retention, training, and spaces to build holistic environments that nurture and reflect the diversity of our staff and the communities we serve.

The AD&IC will periodically assess member needs, the availability of relevant programs from reputable sources, and offer activity recommendations to the ASERL Board and membership. Based on member feedback, the AD&IC will implement measurable activities to benefit the membership, assess the effectiveness of the activities, and offer suggestions for future improvements. ASERL will secure sufficient resources to support these endeavors.

The AD&IC will be volunteers from current ASERL Deans/Directors, led by two co-chairs with staggered two-year terms to foster continuity of leadership. The AD&IC will also include three additional at-large members serving in rotation, including one member selected from the ASERL Board of Directors. Members will be affirmed by the ASERL Board of Directors. The Committee will meet at least twice per year in person; additional conference calls and/or e-meetings will be conducted as desired. ASERL staff will provide support as needed.