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Our Anti-Racism Commitments

Our Anti-Racism Commitments

We, Ricker Library of Architecture & Art, will not tolerate racism and are committed to having open and ongoing conversations among ourselves, across the broader library community, and with our constituents about systemic racism. Our team is working on permanent and action-oriented plans in the following areas:

#1: Ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion lie at the heart of all that we do.

  • All new hires, including faculty, academic professionals, graduate, and undergraduate employees have position requirements that outline a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • We are working on incorporating this commitment into existing job descriptions
  • We will work towards hiring BIPOC employees, particularly when full-time, permanent positions open

#2: Educate/evaluate ourselves

  • Our team is reading and discussing anti-racist information with the purpose of evaluating ourselves and our workplace, and actively participating in trainings offered through the university and beyond. There is no expectation that our BIPOC colleagues will educate us; but if they choose to do so, all Ricker employees will listen with humility and grace
  • We are conducting audits on our collections to evaluate what kinds of voices and topics are currently represented, in order to create a benchmark for current and future collecting
  • We are evaluating our safety procedures for how we contact campus police, investigating their practices, and looking for alternative methods of de-escalation where appropriate

#3: Educate others

#4: Amplify BIPOC Voices

  • Using our platforms, whether social media, resource guides, or teaching and outreach, we seek to amplify BIPOC voices whenever we can

Social Media Platforms




#FromMarginToCenter initiative

#FromMarginToCenter is born out of the clear need to draw attention to marginalized voices, not only across our society, but specifically in our library. We need to acknowledge that nondominant experiences are not well represented in our collections and resources, and further we need to do something about it. Our strategy is the following:

  • Create a growing body of resources designed to highlight contemporary artists and designers across a broad range of identities. Our selection criteria combine staff expertise and interest, current events, and providing a balanced range of resources, knowing that this is an emerging body of material that will evolve and take different shapes over time.
  • After putting in the work to create a resource guide, we amplify those voices. We highlight specific creators in our social media, look for ways to collect more material about or by the person in question, and find ways to embed references to these folks in our more general use guides, as well as our  teaching, outreach, reference, and other activities.
#FromMarginToCenter Guides created thus far

For more information, see the #FromMarginToCenter Initiative page on our website.


Our pedagogical approach is informed by bell hooks’ framing of feminist pedagogy, where we embrace contagious enthusiasm for knowledge, while confronting head on critical issues like race, gender, and power relations. Additionally, we recognize our role in the curriculum and our core function to provide research resources, and aim to decolonize our own approaches to the curriculum.

For an example lesson plan written by Head Librarian Emilee Mathews, please see “Radical Appropriation in Zine Making,” in Fair Use in the Visual Arts: Lesson Plans for Librarians, pp. 42-48.


We have partnered and will continue to partner with BIPOC-centered organizations in our events and outreach.

Collection Displays

While we haven’t been open to the public since March 2020, we have curated a number of displays centering BIPOC voices, and have created the #FromMarginToCenter initiative to continue to do so in the digital realm. We are exploring other methods too, such as tagging and edit-a-thons.

#5: Invest in BIPOC scholars and practitioners

  • We commit to collecting materials by and about BIPOC scholars and practitioners across art and architecture, and highlighting those materials using our communication platforms. Several students have reached out about this specifically and we are excited to work with our community on this important issue.


Other Actions?

Please let us know what you think. You can either email us at rickerlibrary@library.illinois.edu, or give us feedback anonymously via this form.


Key resources consulted in crafting this document