Announcing the 2023-2024 Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award Program Recipients

Columbia University Libraries has awarded seven internal grants for projects that seek to advance a commitment to address racism and exclusion as part of the 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 established the President’s Commission on the History of Race and Racism at Columbia University in 2022 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.”

This year the program granted a total of more than $52,000 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, Joanne Bowman, Matthew Byrd, Yuusuf Caruso, Kaoukab Chebaro, Jessica Edwards, Vanessa Lee, Hassan Mortada, Katherine Prater, Crystal Rivas, Ann Thornton, and Jeremiah Trinidad-Christensen.

Newly-funded projects for 2023-2024 include:

Antiracist Teaching with Archives

Project Team: Thai Jones

The goal of this project is to discover the best current professional practices relating to antiracist teaching with archival materials. The project team will conduct research, create a digital report, and host a conversation with library staff to discuss our findings.

A low-resolution image of a manuscript written by William Beynon that shows traditional fishing sites along the Nass River in British Columbia. William Beynon Tsimshian Manuscripts, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Beynon Tsimshian Sm’algyax Manuscripts Digitization 

Project Team: Kevin Schlottmann and Courtney Chartier

Describe and digitize approximately 8,000 pages of Tsimshian (Ts’msyen) manuscripts. The high-quality images will be provided to the Tsimshian cultural groups who are interested in the material.

Demystifying Research for Social Work Students: Accessing Information and Resources for Aspiring Researchers

Project Team: Kae Bara Kratcha, and Ovita Williams, Executive Director, Action Lab for Social Justice

A series of monthly workshops for current Master of Social Work students seeking opportunities to improve and grow their research skills, make connections with other social work academics, and prepare for PhD applications and success in PhD programs.

Graduate Library School Scholarship 

Project Team: Jennifer Loubriel

A project that investigates how the Libraries can distribute scholarship funds to support students of color who have been accepted to an accredited program for library and information science.

Hopes and Dreams of Modern Africa: A Digital Exhibit of Photographs from the 1960s 

Project Team: Yuusuf Caruso

A digital exhibit of photographic images from the Marc and Evelyne Bernheim Collection. The ADEI award would help to fund the digitization of up to 100 images and their presentation in a curated, digital library exhibit.

Imaging and Rehousing Indigenous American Objects in Art Properties

Project Team: Roberto C. Ferrari, Eric J. Reisenger, and Lillian Vargas

An initiative that intends to: buy new archival supplies and materials for rehousing; hire an objects conservator to assist with rehousing and conservation; and coordinate new high-resolution imaging in the Avery Library photo studio for a focused selection of objects.

Science, Engineering, and Social Science Libraries (SESSL) Student Display Research Mentorship Program

Project Team: Ben Chiewphasa, Kae Bara Kratcha, Nickeisha Pencil, Emily Schmidt, and Eamon Tewell

A research opportunity in which students complete independent research projects under the mentorship of a librarian and then install a small display about their research in a SESSL library.

Several projects that were initially approved in 2022 will continue work through 2024:

Diversity in Librarianship Discussion Series

Project Team: Ashley Luisa Santangelo, Jane McBride (2023-2024), Iris Barreto (2022-2023), and Pamela Casey (2022-2023)

A series of lectures and discussions about current areas of study in BIPOC print cultures, BIPOC librarianship, and distrust among BIPOC people of academic spaces such as libraries.

Enhancing and Uploading to CLIO the Records for Remaining Uncataloged Islamic Manuscripts in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML)

Project Team: Peter Magierski

A project to contract an expert cataloger to review and enhance approximately 250 existing descriptions of Islamic manuscripts in the RBML that are currently unavailable online.

Rare Urdu/Arabic Lehman Hidden Collections

Project Team: Gary Hausman

A new library assistant position with advanced knowledge of Urdu/Arabic to complete cataloging records for rare Urdu and Arabic materials, which will facilitate accessibility to researchers.

Scholarly Contextualization of Smith Indic

Project Team: Gary Hausman, Kaoukab Chebaro

A one-year library research position for an advanced Sanskrit graduate student to assist with preparations for a contextually-historicized exhibit and digitization of approximately 60 representative items from the Columbia Smith Indic collections.

Performing the Library IV

Project Team: Nancy Friedland

An opportunity for graduate students to reflect, through art, on their personal and academic relationships with libraries. The theme for Performing the Library IV is focused on “overlooked lives and the libraries that hold their stories.”