Valuing our Colleagues, Valuing Diversity: Addressing Microaggressions in Academic Libraries
Cynthia Mari Orozco
In the last several years, the term ‘microaggression’ has become increasingly visible through mainstream news sources and conversations happening in higher education. Microaggressions are subtle insults, whether verbal, nonverbal, or visual, that are expressed towards individuals from marginalized communities, which can be based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender expression, or ability. While these are seemingly small occurrences, the impacts of microaggressions are quite significant, potentially leading to uncomfortable or hostile environments and feeling unsafe and excluded. In March 2014, the LIS Microaggressions project was created as an online space to begin having these conversations within the library and information science field. The website collects anonymous user-submitted stories about individuals’ personal experiences with microaggressions at their institutions. This invited talk will address the types of microaggressions that happen specifically within academic libraries, including microaggressions among colleagues or towards our users, and how storytelling and sharing experiences can lead to awareness, dialogue, and strategies for building more inclusive environments in academic libraries.