The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is delighted to announce the introduction of its new diversity, equity and inclusion library, which was unveiled during a recent Friday doughnuts and coffee hour. Located on the cozy third floor bump out nook between towers A and B of the Biological Sciences Building, the library currently contains 25 books.
EEB funds the library and relevant book suggestions and donations are welcomed. There’s a notepad and pen for signing out books on top of the book shelf. The library was an EEB Diversity Committee initiative inspired by Teal Harrison, a 2018 master’s alumna of the department who is now interning with the Gulf Restoration Network in New Orleans, La., and assisting in qualitative data analysis with Shakara Tyler at Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems.
Harrison was a member of the EEB Diversity Committee when she proposed the idea for a DEI library at one of the initial meetings in 2017. They were discussing possible projects ideas to better support students and increase the ways the department demonstrates its dedication to DEI.
A sampling of books in the current collection are: “The Only Woman In the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys’ Club” by Eileen Pollack; “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class” by Ian Haney-López; “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren; and “We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
“I personally thought that the library was a logical follow-up from our book discussion at the fall retreat where we read Michelle Alexander's book, ‘The New Jim Crow.’ The discussion drew a good amount of faculty, staff and students (both those who read the book and didn't get a chance to) and was a thoughtful exchange. Clearly, people wanted to talk about and/or learn more about mass incarceration and folks connected with each other in ways they might not have by learning about each other's points of view or personal experiences with the prison industrial complex. I felt that having access to other books and resources would hopefully catalyze further discussion on a variety of topics that affect folks in the department directly or indirectly, drawing attention and hopefully action where appropriate and ultimately building a stronger, further connected EEB community in the process. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to have people share texts or discover texts in interest areas they may have outside of or adjacent to EEB.”
Tamara Milton, an EEB graduate student who currently serves on the Diversity Committee is hoping to continue expanding the library in the future. “We are really excited for folks to have easy access to some important texts,” Milton said. “We hope the books will be heavily used by our department and others in the Biological Sciences Building, and that their messages will be internalized and inspire action.”
Kristel Sanchez, the other EEB graduate student on the Diversity Committee, said they are figuring out a way for people in the department to submit book tiles they think would make a good addition for the next order.
“The library is open to anyone in the EEB department and folks that work in BSB. We are also hoping that by having coffee hour where the books are housed currently will bring people to come and check out the library. And, by placing the library in the atrium nook, people will come in their spare time, pick up a book and relax while doing some good reading.”