Columbia University Libraries has awarded 14 internal grants for projects that seek to advance a commitment to address racism and exclusion as part of the inaugural Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award Program.
Vice Provost and University Librarian Ann Thornton launched the program in 2022 to contribute to the University’s overall Commitment to Antiracism. In service of its commitment, the University recently established the President’s Commission on the History of Race and Racism at Columbia University to “assess current symbols and representations at Columbia establish guidelines for future ones, guided by a commitment both to historical accuracy and to an inclusive campus environment.”
The program granted $75,000 to projects led by Libraries employees that address racism and exclusion through new initiatives or by enhancing existing programs. This work includes acting on known injustices and increased insights to facilitate learning, enabling professional growth, and fostering a variety of perspectives and ideas to address complex challenges.
The Libraries’ ADEI Award Committee members include: Amanda Bielskas, Matthew Byrd, Yuusuf Caruso, Kaoukab Chebaro, Meredith Levin, Katherine Prater, and Ann Thornton.
Funded projects for 2022-2023 include:
Diversity in Librarianship Discussion Series
Project Team: Ashley Luisa Santangelo, Pamela Casey, Iris Barreto, and William J. Willis
A series of lectures and discussions about current areas of study in BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) print cultures, BIPOC librarianship, as well as a discussion about distrust among BIPOC people regarding academic spaces such as libraries.
Enhancing and Uploading to CLIO Records for Some of the Remaining Uncataloged Islamic Manuscripts in RBML
Project Team: Peter Magierski
Between 2017-2020, the Libraries employed advanced graduate students to provide basic descriptions of Islamic manuscripts in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. This new funding enables the organization to hire an expert cataloger to review and enhance approximately 250 existing descriptions that remain offline.
Native American Collections at Columbia University Libraries (NAC@CUL)
Project Team: Roberto Ferrari
During the 2022-2023 academic year, in continuing work toward compliance with the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), Art Properties and Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library will organize a series of projects with the goal of beginning consultations with Native American tribal nations regarding some objects in the library’s collection.
Performing the Library IV
Project Team: Nancy Friedland
Performing the Library provides Columbia University graduate students with the opportunity to reflect, through art, on their relationships, personal and academic, with the Libraries. The theme for Performing the Library IV is focused on “overlooked lives and the libraries that hold their stories.”
Struggling for LGBTQ Identities through the Perspective of Chinese Queer Cinema
Project Team: Chengzhi Wang and Jim Cheng
The Libraries will acquire new queer films by Popo Fan and introduce Chinese queer cinema and the Libraries’ film collections to the Columbia community, intending to encourage academic exploration and analysis of complex Chinese society and to better understand LGBTQ gender identities and sexualities in China.
Challenges (and Successes) in Collecting LGBTQ+ Materials from and About Eastern and East Central Europe
Project Team: Robert Davis, Caro Bratnober, and Sarah Witte
The Libraries will conduct informational outreach to student groups and faculty regarding LGBTQ+ resources from and about Eastern and East Central Europe, as they are represented in the libraries of Columbia, Cornell, and ReCAP partners (Harvard, the New York Public Library, and Princeton).
Indigenous Peoples of North America: Collections Assessment and Enhancement
Project Team: Katherine Brooks, Ben Chiewphasa, Chris Sala, Socrates Silva Reyes, and Sarah Witte
The Libraries will assess materials relating to the study of indigenous peoples in North America. Focus will be on materials identifiable and accessible through CLIO, and emphasis will be placed on enhancing collections through the addition of materials in digital formats, where possible.
Inclusive Architectural Journal Indexing Initiative
Project Team: James Sobczak
The Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals will holistically reevaluate the journals that it actively indexes to focus more on architectural subjects, built environments, geographic regions, and communities of practice often overlooked in the traditional architectural canons.
Scholarly Contextualization of Smith Indic
Project Team: Gary Hausman
The Libraries will fund a one-year research position for an advanced Sanskrit graduate student to assist with preparations for a contextually historicized exhibit (both physical and online) of approximately 60 representative items from the Columbia Smith Indic collections.
Palestine and Palestinians: A Research Guide
Project Team: Peter Magierski
The Libraries will create a research guide to consolidate print and online resources related to the history of Palestine and the present situation of Palestinians in the diaspora, including funding to hire a student for 50 hours during the summer session.
Rare Urdu/Arabic Lehman Hidden Collections
Project Team: Gary Hausman and Peter Magierski
The Libraries will provide funding to hire a library assistant with advanced Urdu and Arabic knowledge to complete the cataloging records for rare Urdu and Arabic materials. Materials will then be added to the catalog, made available for checkout, and possibly made available digitally.
H. Lawrence Freeman Opera Scores Digitization
Project Team: Jenny Lee
There are 28 operas, oratorios, or large vocal works written by composer H. Lawrence Freeman held by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library in manuscript form, most of which are not digitized. This project will fund digitization for 6,600 pages of manuscript, ideally to facilitate performance of the works.
Hunt “Kwakiutl” Manuscripts Digitization
Project Team: Kevin Schlottmann, Courtney Chartier, Thai Jones, Emily Holmes, Dina Sokolova, and Brian Lucero
The Rare Book & Manuscript Library holds the George Hunt “Kwakiutl” manuscripts, a collection that consists of approximately 8,000 pages of linguistic and anthropological notes. Digitization of the manuscripts would make an important source of Native American linguistic cultural material available to the community for whom it is most important.