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University Libraries

Values Statement

University of South Carolina Libraries is committed to providing spaces and services that are accessible, safe, inclusive and culturally diverse. As an Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) member institution, we embrace their assertion that, “If libraries are to continue being indispensable organizations in their campus communities, they must reflect the communities they serve to provide quality services to their increasingly diverse constituencies.” University Libraries understands that our place at the physical and intellectual center of campus obligates us to proactively meet the needs of our diverse faculty, staff, visitors and students.

We are dedicated to improving the University Libraries’ culture.

To better realize the principles of accessibility, inclusion, and representation, we are committed to:

  • Providing library spaces that are physically safe and accessible.
  • Ensuring that our collections, seating and technologies are ADA compliant.
  • Offering collections, resources and programming that reflect diverse experiences and perspectives, including but not limited to Black, Indigenous and People of Color; LGBTQIA+ individuals; disabled persons; and low-income communities.
  • Building and supporting a diverse workforce.
  • Receiving and actively considering feedback and criticism from community members regarding how we can better serve and support community members.
Why it matters.

University faculty, staff and students need the freedom to pursue their research interests and share their unique perspectives, and as an academic library, it is our responsibility to provide the university community with the information resources needed for these pursuits. Libraries faculty and staff who are empowered to thrive in the workplace are better equipped to serve users with enthusiasm and innovation. Our student population includes many young adults who are shaping their professions, interests and identities. They deserve access to materials and collections that both reflect their past experiences and equip them to pursue their futures fearlessly. Visitors, researchers and alumni benefit from access to programming and resources that support their diverse backgrounds and introduce them to new cultural experiences and outlooks.

Areas we emphasize.
  • Collections – We ensure the incorporation of materials that feature a wide array of perspectives. We evaluate existing collections for currency and accuracy. Handle concerns regarding historical collections that include offensive language and imagery with sensitivity and compassion.
  • Workforce – We strive to ensure new library professionals look like the population we serve, today and tomorrow. We communicate and enforce clear standards of appropriate workplace behavior.  We solicit and review feedback from workers to improve workplace safety and accessibility.
  • Language and messaging – We strive to use current terminology to refer to groups and individuals. We select a wide range of topics and speakers for events and talks, and we include underrepresented perspectives in programming and exhibits. We leverage primary materials to share the stories and life experiences of all of South Carolina’s communities, including those who have been hidden, misunderstood, or left out of other narratives.  We use our unique platform as steward of the scholarly and historical records to build a more complete understanding of our culture and a better educational experience for our students. 
What users may see in our collections.

Many of our special and circulating collections provide access to historical primary sources including manuscripts, photographs, artwork, advertisements, moving images and published volumes. A number of these materials have been made available online to improve access and discovery for researchers across the globe. Items within these collections reflect the attitudes, values and norms of the time and culture in which they were created. As such, some of the digital materials available through the Libraries contain offensive and harmful imagery and language. It is important to remember that these images and rhetoric were tools created to implement and reinforce oppressive and discriminatory systems, laws and customs. Thus, these items are an important, though painful, part of our shared history.

Materials made available digitally are presented in their original and unedited appearance. Their presence in our digital collections does not constitute endorsement or support for the depicted attitudes. They are made available as part of an historical record that is essential to researchers in many disciplines. Whenever possible, we have tried to include descriptive information and metadata that clarifies the creators, date of creation and historical context. A statement accompanies all pertinent landing pages notifying researchers they may encounter offensive materials. In addition, we are working to include more detailed labels/warnings on individual items of a particularly graphic nature.

Please share your viewpoint with us.

To facilitate dialogue and better receive constructive feedback, we have created this customized form so that our users can bring to our attention concerns about access to our buildings or collections, or about specific items and materials in our collections.

Any concerns will be addressed in accordance with the University Libraries’ mission, values and procedures, and in consultation with the librarians and archivists responsible for the handling of the specific materials. Please note that University Libraries prioritizes providing access and context to researchers wherever possible. 

For more general concerns or questions, we encourage you to contact the appropriate division directly. It is possible that we will need to forward your communication to a librarian or archivist better able to address your concerns, and that may take additional time.

We thank you for your feedback and engagement.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.