As the demographics of college students continue to evolve, libraries must examine areas of need between their staff and the campus community. These changes and recent other recent campus events required Otterbein’s Courtright Memorial Library to question its role in providing safe(r) spaces to students of minority communities and to examine its role as a social justice advocate for inclusivity on campus. Our student body is historically white, yet our 2019 freshman class was the most diverse in its history with 23% students of color. The enrollment of students with diverse backgrounds continues to climb with our welcoming of first-generation college students. These demographic changes are a shift for our university and will most likely continue making the safety and inclusion of all students vitally important. This project’s aim was to determine what factors students take into consideration when defining a Safe Space. This was accomplished by collecting qualitative and quantitative data via surveys and focus groups, about how students from various minority student organizations feel in the library and what the library could do to further improve inclusivity. These groups include but are not limited to first-generation students, LGBTQIA+ students, students with diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, students of color, students with disabilities, and various religious groups. This will help remove possible barriers and improve programmatic relationships between student organizations representing minority communities and academic programs like Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies; Religion; and Race and Ethnic Studies. By understanding what these students need and where gaps exist, the library could work to better serve these underrepresented communities and improve the campus environment for all.
Administrative Offices, Executives, and Centers
Publication or Event Title
ACRL 2021 Conference: Ascending into an Open Future
Crossfield McIntosh, J., Cole, K., & Powell, M. (2021). The Library as a Safe(r) Space: Student Thoughts about the Library’s Role on Campus. ACRL 2021 Conference: Ascending into an Open Future Retrieved from https://fuse.franklin.edu/facstaff-pub/72