image image

by Robin Harris,
Law Library

As the University of Louisville Libraries work to prepare for the new millennium, Y2K is not the only major problem we face. The shifting demographics of the Louisville area are changing our focus: the University community and the larger Louisville community are rapidly becoming more diverse. We must learn to adapt to this change, to learn from it and, above all, to look at it as a wonderful opportunity to grow.

Many of the Libraries' employees have already embraced this idea and are working to make positive things happen both on and off campus. Here is a look at some of your co-workers who are making a difference.

Program Assistant & Technical Coordinator
Distance Learning Library Services, Ekstrom Library

Robb is co-facilitator and webmaster for the Louisville Chapter of "Just As I Am," a national support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) Baptists. Robb's church, Jeff Street Baptist Community at Liberty, sponsors this chapter which meets on the third Tuesday of each month. He also serves as webmaster for Louisville's chapter of Religious Leaders for Fairness (RLF), an organization of clergy from various churches that support Fairness Campaign efforts, and is developing a web page for the Clinton, Iowa Franciscans. Robb's connection to this group of nuns is LaVern Olberding, OSF, formerly the director of UofL's Interfaith Center. Robb's many campus-related activities include a two-year stint as advisor of Common Ground, UofL's Union for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Intersexual (GLBTI) Students and Their Allies.

Curator, Rare Books
Special Collections, Ekstrom Library

For the past four years Delinda has served on UofL's Commission on the Status of Women (COSW) and is now in her second year as Vice-Chair. The COSW monitors UofL's progress toward the goals that were set by the Board of Trustees in 1993 after the Report of the Taskforce on the Status of Women was published. To date the COSW has achieved salary equity adjustments for classified staff, developed an initiative (Research on Women) as part of the intramural grants program, established the Transformation Luncheons Series to promote discussion and problem solving on issues of concern to women of color, consulted on equity in athletics, initiated a mentoring program, and developed programs for students involved in global studies. The COSW continues to work on salary equity for women in professional and administrative (P&A) and faculty ranks, an effective policy and procedures to address sexual harassment, provision of excellent child care for students and employees, and promotion of women (particularly women of color) into the higher ranks of the classified and P&A system.

Cataloger, Music Library
Since January, 1998 Meredith has been involved with Common Ground (UofL's Union for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Intersexual Students and Their Allies) and has served on the group's Speakers Bureau, which sends speakers to classes or other campus groups to talk about the lives of GLBTI people. In May, 1998 Meredith became the campus advisor for Common Ground, the only social and educational group for GLBTI undergraduates at UofL. She has also served on UofL's Multicultural Center Advisory Board and volunteers for the Community Health Trust, an organization for AIDS prevention and care.

Public Services Librarian, Law Library
Robin has served on the Brandeis School of Law Diversity Committee since 1993 and currently co-chairs this 18-member group of faculty and students. Programs this year have included an affirmative action debate between nationally known speakers Lino Graglia (University of Texas) and Barbara Bergmann (American University), and a disability rights program that focused on local disability rights activist Arthur Campbell. (Mr. Campbell is the subject of a film by local filmmaker Walter Brock that ran as part of the PBS series, P.O.V. [Point of View]).

Robin also serves on the University Diversity Committee, the Multicultural Center Advisory Board, and the Undergraduate Council's Subcommittee on Campus Environment and Co-Curricular Activities.

Director, Office of Information Literacy
Rae wrote the technology strategy document for the Empowerment Zone Grant submitted by the City of Louisville to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in October, 1998. If funded, this grant will provide millions of dollars to neighborhoods in west Louisville for new economic development, community building, education, and technology.

Also in the fall semester of 1998, Rae created a listserv for women of color at UofL, to help facilitate discussion and information sharing.

Rae's ongoing diversity-related activities include a series of web workshops for the following community groups: the YMCA Black Achievers, Canaan Baptist Church Rites of Passage group, Project Endeavor, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. The workshops take place in the Ekstrom Library's Collaborative Learning Center (CLC).

Head, Media and Current Periodicals, Ekstrom Library
Ekstrom Library

David is an active member of several UofL groups, including the University Diversity Committee and the Multicultural Center Advisory Board. He also works with the Louisville Area Council on Latin America, a group which focuses on education and advocacy issues relating to the people of Latin America. For years he has been involved with a church community in Calle Real, El Salvador; this involvement has inspired David to visit El Salvador several times. He has also planned reciprocal visits to Kentucky for some of the residents of Calle Real.

David participates in other organizations which deal with issues of diversity and human rights, including the Fairness Campaign. the Kentucky Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression, Amnesty International, and Jobs with Justice.

Archivist, University Archives and Records Center
Tom Owen, a veteran of local politics, is a longtime advocate for diversity. He served as 3rd Ward Alderman for nine years, from 1990 - 1998, and worked tirelessly for an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. Known as the "Fairness Amendment," this measure failed three times, in 1991, 1995, and 1997. Tom unequivocally supported the ordinance and consistently served as one of its sponsors. On January 26, 1999, the Louisville Board of Alderman finally passed an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in matters of employment. The Board tabled two other ordinances covering public accommodations and housing. Although Tom's term ended in 1998, his years of work on this equity issue contributed greatly to the ordinance's passage.

Tom is also a popular speaker. Known for his enchanting talks about Louisville and its history, Tom frequently provides local orientation tours for immigrants to our community and to foreign visitors.

Associate Curator, Special Collections, Ekstrom Library
When the Commission on the Status of Women revitalized the Rape Prevention Committee in 1996, President Shumaker appointed Amy to serve on that group. The Committee, renamed the Sexual Assault Prevention Committee (SAPC), strives to prevent sexual assault within the University community. SAPC members either have a background in counseling or received training through the Center for Women and Families. The members lead discussion workshops on the many complex issues associated with sexual assault, including victims' rights, safety precautions, laws governing sexual assault, and what to do if you are involved in an assault.

For more information about the SAPC, please see or contact Amy ( for a brochure.

These are just a few of the many University Libraries employees who strive to make diversity an important component of their daily life and work. If you are involved in diversity activities, either in your personal or professional life, please send an email note to Robin Harris at so that the next update on diversity will include you!

Diversity Video Collection in the Ekstrom Library

by David Horvath,
Media & Current Periodicals

The Librariesí Diversity Video Collection began in the early 1990s as a collection funded by the University Provost and housed at the Faculty Development Office. The collection was formed to provide resources for instructors who were making serious efforts to incorporate diversity issues into their curriculum. The collection focuses on the broadest definition of diversity: variations and interconnections in class, race, gender and sexual orientation. Videos are an excellent way to introduce these subjects into classroom presentation and discussion. As the collection grew and became more heavily used, it became more complex to manage and circulate. In 1993, the collection and the budget support was transferred to Ekstrom Library which has been responsible for managing the collection ever since.

In 1998, the Libraries identified funding from endowments to continue collecting in this area after the Provostís Office was unable to provide financial support in 1997. The collection now numbers over 400 items and includes many of our most frequently used videos. As a complementary body of material, the Libraries purchased the entire collection of Appalshop Films/Headwaters Television in Whitesburg, Kentucky in 1994. It is considered one of the finest existing collections of documentary and educational films relating to Appalachia and the realities of rural life.

This spring, we are broadening the process of selecting titles for the Diversity Video Collection. Several preview events will be advertised to faculty to view titles which were ordered on approval. This will be an excellent way to improve the selection process and to advertise the availability of the videos and encourage their use in the classroom.

Check out the Diversity Collection web page at: