In the summer of 2020, students from the medical school’s Social Justice Coalition asked if the library could support their project to build a digital collection of anti-racism resources. Specifically, they asked if the library could host the collection and purchase relevant materials when possible. The project presented interesting policy and technical issues related to LibGuides, the platform we eventually selected. It also provided educational opportunities for the medical students, staff, and the library. After six months of hard work, we launched the collection, titled “Together We Learn: Resources for Our Journeys in Justice & Inclusion” in December 2020.
While, initially, it appeared that this would be a simple project to complete, we quickly discovered unique challenges. For example, LibGuides was chosen as the obvious technical platform to use, but there was consensus among the authors, students, and their advisor that the students should retain editorial control over the content. This ran counter to library practice and we had to argue our case and receive permission to move forward. The project team also worked closely on design. This involved educating the students and their advisor about how LibGuides operates, which impacted how content appeared. Finally, we had to develop new workflows to address issues like reviewing and updating guide content. This required another adjustment to established library policy. The final guide includes a rich mix of resources, such as books and videos, that cover a variety of crucial topics.
The guide was launched in December 2020. The initial reception was enthusiastic and supportive with hundreds of views that month. Like many end-of-year projects, however, it was soon overshadowed by holidays, the January spike in COVID-19 infections, and events in Washington D.C. Our goal for the spring 2021 semester is to reintroduce the guide to the public. The medical students and their advisor are developing a plan to accomplish that goal. We also need to grow the guide and we have already started to receive suggestions via an embedded “Recommend a Resource” form. As a result, the guide remains an ongoing project and we are honored to continue working with our medical students on something they are so passionate about.
anti-racism, diversity, equity, inclusion
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Atwood, Gary S. and Bright, Kate E., "Together We Learn: Collaborating with Medical Students to Build an Online Anti-Racism Guide" (2021). University Libraries Faculty and Staff Publications. 88.