Five Questions with Michael S. Fitts

Michael Fitts, University of Alabama at Birmingham Libraries
Michael Fitts

Michael S. Fitts, Assistant Dean for User Access & Diversity, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Libraries

1.  Tell us about your work in your library…?

For the last several years I’ve had the pleasure of serving as Assistant Dean for User Access & Diversity. In this role I had overall responsibility for providing access to our services and resources, as well as a diversity component.  I’m happy to announce that moving forward I will be shifting to a role which will allow me to focus on UAB Libraries and its role in diversity, equity, and inclusion.


2.  What attracted you to this role?

Simply put, I’ve always loved serving in positions where I can help people. I’m all about advocacy and being able to give a voice to individuals who may not have that voice.


3)  How have you been involved with ASERL?

Over the last few years I’ve served on ASERL’s DEI Committee, where so far we’ve completed two phases of work and are in the process of working on phase three.

  • Phase #1: Completed an environmental scan of DEI retention and recruitment practices among non-profit and tech startups.
  • Phase #2: Took the outcomes from phase #1 and interviewed DEI librarians, reviewed their DEI statements, mission, vision, and strategic plans. We also reviewed several diversity residency programs and took a look at assessment instruments for retention.
  • Phase #3: Reviewing benchmarks for recruitment and retention.


4)  What parts of your job/volunteering with ASERL do you find most rewarding?

I’ve enjoyed brainstorming and working with a small but mighty group of colleagues on how we can share strategies and improve DEI initiatives. Earlier this year we finally met each other face to face — without Zoom — at the 4th National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color. Believe it or not, we still meet virtual  and check in with one another once a month.  I am so glad to have met these great individuals.


5)  What’s one great thing that most people don’t know about you?

People who meet me often credit me with being somewhat stylish. What I’m not sure most people know is that much of my clothing comes from thrift stores — sometimes from head to toe!