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Defending Diversity: The Challenges and Opportunities for DEIA Positions in Libraries (Part 2)

Mar 27, 2024



How are libraries still doing the work of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) across their systems with or without dedicated staff? This three-part series brings professionals from all levels and types of libraries together to discuss how the work of DEIA is going and ongoing considering the Supreme Court’s overturning of Affirmative Action, state budgets defunding DEIA initiatives, the disappearance of “diversity roles” after three years of prolific hiring to these strategic roles only to see resignations and firing of DEIA organizational leaders from these same roles. We’ll discuss if libraries have moved the needle towards becoming inclusive libraries and what should be the priorities for libraries going forward. Panelists will share their experiences, progress, challenges, and changes in doing the work of DEIA in their respective libraries.


Catalina Piatt-Esguerra is the Associate Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility at the University of Virginia Library. She serves as member of the Library’s Senior Leadership Team. She directs the implementation of the Library’s Inclusive Excellence Plan, tracking outcomes and accountability, collecting relevant data, and partners across all of the Library’s divisions to support the execution of this plan. Her work focuses on organizational culture and climate, staff sense of belonging, and best practices of inclusion-focused work process and infrastructure. She has additional expertise in strategy and vision, leadership development, and DEI capacity-building, along with project management and events coordination.

Kimanthi Warren is the Assistant Dean of University of Washington Libraries for Organizational Development and Inclusion.  She has over 25 years of experience in multiple facets of higher education, staff management/training, community engagement, and youth mentorship. She has worked along-side transformative equity and social justice leaders in both private and public sectors. Through her partnerships, Kimanthi has built a legacy of work that has not only improved the social landscapes of the organizations she supported but also established the foundation of sustainable equity-focused resource programs.

Eric Glenn, the inaugural Director of Belonging, Engagement, and Organization Development for Virginia Tech’s university libraries and President of the Black Caucus, earned a B.S. in Neuroscience on an athletic scholarship at King University. At Virginia Tech, he pursued a master’s in Counselor Education while working part-time as a researcher at the VT Psych Lab and Transportation Institute. Progressing from wage to staff to faculty, he focused on advanced vehicle technology, notably addressing vehicular heatstroke in vulnerable populations, and led diversity initiatives by establishing a diversity committee, networking groups, and conducting engagement surveys.

Facilitator:  Nikhat Ghouse