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Diversity Resident Librarian Leads the Way

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One of the University of Utah’s core values, as expressed in The University of Utah Strategic Overview, is to “[celebrate] the rich diversity of people as well as creative and intellectual traditions by being inclusive in every respect.”

In support of the U’s commitment to providing an equitable and inclusive environment, the J. Willard Marriott Library designed its own Diversity Residency Program. The Diversity Residency Program is intended to increase faculty diversity at the Marriott Library and to encourage people from traditionally underrepresented groups to choose the University of Utah as a place to launch their careers in academic librarianship.

In July 2015, the library welcomed Twanna Hodge as the first Diversity Resident Librarian. A native of the Virgin Islands, Twanna received her M.L.I.S. from the University of Washington in 2015. During her two-year appointment at the Marriott Library, Twanna is working on projects in each of the library’s major departments, as well as serving on campus committees. Twanna is committed to finding ways to support students, faculty, and staff of diverse backgrounds. This includes those who are part of the LGBTQ community and/or are from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds, and also those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and those who may have accessibility needs. Why is it important that the library is engaged in this sort of diversity work? When asked this question, Twanna replies:

“To show that libraries (the Marriott Library in particular), are dedicated to equity and inclusion on campus and in the community. It informs others that the library offers a safe space for people to challenge themselves and others without the fear of judgement. Not only do we believe in an inclusive society, but we take an active role in building community and conducting  outreach. This illustrates how critical social justice and inclusion are to the betterment of our society.”

Here’s a look at some of the diversity-focused work of our Diversity Resident Librarian, Twanna Hodge:

Black Advisory Council Member
The Council charge is to report to the Associate Vice-President for Equity and Diversity on current issues affecting black students, faculty, and staff.
Native American Traditional Healing Bibliography
In partnership with the Eccles Health Sciences Library, created the bibliography as a supplement for the Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concept of Health and Illness Traveling Exhibit held at the Eccles Health Sciences Library last year.
First Year Diversity Scholars Welcome
The First Year Diversity Scholars Program supports students through a personalized campus orientation, regular interactions with faculty and staff of color, academic advising, multiple mentoring relationships, and off-campus community engagement opportunities. The welcome event introduced library resources and services to first generation, low income, LGBTQ, and Students of Color.
Martin Luther King Jr. Week Planning Committee
The University of Utah celebrates the educational access and opportunities that Dr. King’s legacy has provided in the United States. Twanna was a member of the committee that designed and implemented several events for MLK Jr. Week.
Women Enrollment Initiative – Mentor
The Women’s Enrollment Initiative’s main mission is to recruit, retain, and graduate women by connecting them to resources and support. A mentor is someone who takes a special interest in helping another person develop into a successful professional. Currently mentoring a freshman.
Medical Immersion Experience to Inspire Medical Innovators & Black Doctors
The V(i)llage brought 150 self-identifying Black middle/high schools to the University of Utah on Friday, February 12 to participate in substantive, interactive, hands-on lab dissections, and critical real world problem solving sessions. Twanna assisted with the event from start to finish.
Presentation Title "Resources on Campus"
Students from throughout the Salt Lake Valley, and surrounding areas, will visit the University of Utah. The conference will place an emphasis on informing students of what it takes to succeed in the college environment, equip them with the tools to manage coursework, and encourage them to follow their dreams. The conference will also showcase the wealth of information and resources available to students as they make plans to attend The University of Utah.
Black Student Union High School Conference: Designing Your Future Presenter
Students from throughout the Salt Lake Valley, and surrounding areas, will visit the University of Utah. The conference will place an emphasis on informing students of what it takes to succeed in the college environment, equip them with the tools to manage coursework, and encourage them to follow their dreams. The conference will also showcase the wealth of information and resources available to students as they make plans to attend The University of Utah.

 

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