UK Happenings

UK Libraries EDI Events Give Opportunities to Learn, Reflect and Engage

William T. Young Library on campus. Photo by Pete Comparoni | UK Photo
William T. Young Library on campus. Photo by Pete Comparoni | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 1, 2022) — As the University of Kentucky nears the end of the spring semester, UK Libraries is proud to offer an array of events, exhibits and opportunities available for the campus community that challenge participants to share and expand their knowledge on topics related to equity, diversity and inclusivity. 

“An overarching and guiding principle within the UK Libraries’ new strategic plan is the centrality and essentiality of equity, diversity and inclusion in all we do.  Yet, stating the importance of EDI is just a first step – we must put these values into action,” Dean of Libraries Doug Way said. “These events and opportunities do just that, allowing us and the broader community to engage in conversations and experiences that we hope will lead us all to reflect, learn and grow.” 

On Friday, April 1, UK Libraries, The Graduate School and Graduate Student Congress will host the “Celebrating Diversity Month Dedication Ceremony” at 11 a.m. in the Thomas D. Clark Graduate Study in William T. Young Library. This event will include a plaque dedication ceremony and reception honoring participants of the 2021 “Celebrating Diversity Month Pop-Up Museum” initiative documenting how the personal and cultural identities of currently enrolled part-time or full-time graduate and professional students have impacted their time at UK. 

“The ceremony on April 1 will honor the graduate and professional students who contributed to the 2021 Celebrating Diversity Virtual Museum, a project conceived by Edward Lo, a graduate student in Earth & Environmental Sciences,” said Taylor Leigh, Hispanic Studies & Political Science Librarian. “Edward brought the idea to Ruth Bryan, University Archivist, and me in Spring 2021 and we were thrilled to assist him in bringing it all together.” 

This event is also free and open to the public. To RSVP for the event, click here

“The project, which is ongoing, is a great example of how the Libraries can partner with students to highlight their voices,” Leigh added. “Its outcomes go lengths in documenting the diverse array of student experiences at UK and redounds to the benefit of future generations."

On Monday, Apr. 18, the UK Libraries Diversity Scholar Interns will host the Human Libraryä 1 – 6 p.m. in the Gatton Student Center Ballroom. This event invites members of marginalized identities, oppressed backgrounds or isolated communities to act as living "books" as they share their stories with participants, also known as "readers” through 10 to 30-minute conversations.

“The passion and drive our students exude through their participation in this program make every day worth it. We live in challenging times, but I still find so much joy working together on projects that advance social justice issues and enlighten our other library faculty, staff, and students,” added Jen Martin, director of diversity and inclusion.

This event will be the fourth Human Libraryä the UK Libraries Diversity Scholar Interns have planned and hosted since 2017. Past participants have praised the event for creating “open and honest conversation[s] that will lead to greater acceptance, tolerance and social cohesion in the community.” 

The UK Libraries Diversity Scholar Internship Program is a unique, paid opportunity for undergraduate students with a passion for promoting diversity, multicultural awareness and inclusivity at UK and in the greater Lexington community. Diversity Scholars play a fundamental role in working with library personnel to further the library system’s dedication to equity, diversity and inclusivity, spearheading initiatives that diversify the perspectives and information represented in the libraries’ collections and services. 

Diversity Scholars Sam Carrick and Emma Poole have been developing and helping with several library outreach initiatives and research projects to enhance diversity goals throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, such as a Fall 2021 film viewing of WALL-E highlighting the inequalities in environmental justice as well as a permanent exhibit in William T. Young Library showcasing information and resources pertaining to Juneteenth. 

"This experience has been so fun and eye opening. I get to learn more about a library’s duties and responsibilities to the public and how diversity and equality is/should be a huge aspect of that. Knowledge should be accurate and well-rounded for everyone. Getting to be a part of that for the community here on campus has been extremely rewarding,” said Diversity Scholar Intern Sam Carrick.

“Being a Diversity Scholar Intern has been such a rewarding experience. I identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and, through this program, I have been able to help the library diversify its collection to be representative of everyone in our academic community and highlight issues of those of the LGBTQ+ community, specifically in the Arab World,” said Diversity Scholar Intern Emma Poole. “I am honored that I have been a part of this driving force that is dedicated to celebrating the diversity in our world and our university.”

Applications for UK Libraries Diversity Scholar Internships are accepted each fall. To learn more about this opportunity or the application process, click here.

As the premier research library in the Commonwealth, UK Libraries empowers lifelong learners to discover, create and connect by providing ever-expanding access to quality information and collaborating with academic and creative communities worldwide to advance knowledge, enhance scholarship and preserve the history and culture of the Commonwealth. More information about UK Libraries can be found on its website

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.