Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work at Cary Library

Cary Library is committed to advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, and access for our community. This commitment is reflected in our Mission, Core Values, and Guiding Principles, but more importantly, it is reflected in the staff we hire, the collections we build, the programs we offer, and the services we provide.

The work of advancing racial and social equity begins with the recognition and affirmation of the dignity of individuals; those we work with and those we serve.  Regardless of age, cultural background, ethnicity, family status, language, national origin, disability, race, color, religion, sex, education, sexual orientation, gender identity, health, socioeconomic, and immigration status—at Cary Library, all are welcome.

Our ability to serve our community now and in the future depends on our willingness to learn and evolve. To that end, library staff and administration have formed an IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, and Staffing) Team to provide structure and accountability for our DEI work. Our first IDEAS Action Plan 2022-2023 was adopted by the Library's Board of Trustees in June 2021 and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

We cannot truly fulfill our mission without doing this work, both as a staff and in partnership with the many individuals and organizations in Lexington who are working toward equity. If you have suggestions for how to make Cary Library more equitable and inclusive we want to hear from you. You can reach our IDEAS Team by submitting your thoughts through our suggestion form.

IDEAS Action Plan

The Cary Library staff and administration have formed an IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, and Staffing) Team to provide structure and accountability for the library's DEI work. The Library's Board of Trustees adopted an initial IDEAS Action Plan 2022-2023 in June 2021. There are currently five teams working on the goals outlined in this Action Plan: Accessibility, Collections, Community Collaborations, Staffing, and Institutional. 

IDEAS Action Plan 2022-2023

Accessibility

  • Conduct an accessibility audit of the library facility. Timeframe: Summer 2022
  • Conduct an accessibility audit of library programming. Timeframe: In process
  • Improve accessibility features of library website (new website with improved accessibility features  launched in September, 2021). Timeframe: Ongoing
  • Assess our ability to serve indivduals who speak languages other than English. Timeframe: In process
  • Introduce Sensory Friendly Programs/Hours. Timeframe: To be determined
  • Staff Training - serving individuals with disabilities (all staff training planned January 2022). Timeframe: Ongoing

Collections

  • Assess and enhance the diversity of library collections. Timeframe: Ongoing
  • Develop tools and practices to ensure the diversity of our collection moving forward. Timeframe: In process
  • Make diversity an ongoing priority in book lists, readers' advisory, and book displays. Timeframe: Ongoing
  • Update our Collection Development Policy with language specific to diversity and representation. Timeframe: Winter 2021-22
  • Develop a policy/process for reconsidering materials with offensive content, including titles pulled by publishers and authors. Timeframe: In process

Community Collaborations

  • Survey community partners to better understand their needs and priorities. Timeframe: Fall 2021
  • Develop tools and practices to ensure the diversity of library programming moving forward. Timeframe: Winter 2021-22
  • Establish clear set of guidelines for DEI programming (which months are celebrated annually, featuring own voices speakers during these celebrations). Timeframe: Winter 2021-22

Staffing

  • Review hiring process to identify ways to increase diversity (in collaboration with the Town Chief Equity Officer). Timeframe: Fall 2021
  • Explore options for supporting staff who experience issues related to DEI, including process for reporting. Timeframe: Winter 2021-22
  • Develop multiple internship/vocational study opportunities to build diversity in the profession.
    • Partnerships with Cotting School and LABB for student employment skills training. Timeframe: Underway
    • Develop paid internship opportunities for individuals from traditionally marginalized communities. Timeframe: Winter 2021
  • Increase opportunities for staff to cross-train in other library departments. Timeframe: To be determined
  • Staff Training - wide range of DEI topics including active bystander, microaggressions, anticracism. Timeframe: Ongoing

Institutional

  • Adopt the Urban Library Council's Statement on Race and Social Equity. Timeframe: Adopted May 5, 2021
  • Develop a meaningful Land Acknowledgement and associated action items. Timeframe: In process
  • Incorporate DEI activities into broader strategic planning efforts. Timeframe: Winter 2021-22
  • Create section on library website to track progress of library IDEAS work. Timeframe: In process

Adopted by Library Trustees - 6.2.21, updated 11.1.21