Director University of Nevada Las Vegas Health Sciences Library Las Vegas, Nevada
Purpose: This research project analyzed Academic Health Sciences Libraries’ (AHSLs) online mission statements, diversity mission statements and other statements, for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility content.
Methods: Included were all full, associate, and developing members, regardless of geographic location, in the AAHSL 2019 member directory. Excluded were non-academic HSLs and one AHSL without a website. Websites of 164 AHSLs were searched for mission statements, diversity mission statements, and other statements which included DEIA content in February 2020. Data were collected using a google survey and google sheets. The research team counted AHSLs with, without and using a parent organization’s mission statements, diversity statements and other statements. Only content from the AHSL (not parent) organization was considered. The team created an initial list of DEIA words to code DEIA content in the statements. Content was coded by a single researcher, and as new terms were identified, they were added to the list.
The research team coded data for DEIA qualitative themes for tone (uplifting/positive, discriminating/negative, a combination of positive and negative, or neither), clarity (clear DEIA, possible DEIA, or no DEIA words) and intended audience (outside, inside, both, not specified).
Results: From 164 AHSL websites, 87 had mission statements, 44 had no mission statements, and 33 linked to parent organizations’ mission statements. Six of the 164 AHSLs had diversity mission statements on their websites, and 14 AHSLs linked to parent organizations’ statements. Of the 87 mission statements, 11 had clear DEIA content, 45 had possible DEIA content, and 31 had no DEIA content. Twenty-four AHSLs posted other statements with diversity content, while 35 AHSLs linked to parent organizations’ statements. The most frequent DEIA words were variations of community, access, diverse, or inclusion. Possible DEIA meaning of these words and others was unclear, since they may have other meanings dependent on context.
Tone was overwhelmingly positive/supportive in statements, and most statements addressed audiences outside the library such as students, healthcare practitioners, or the university. Internal library audiences were addressed with regards to professional development or continuous learning.
Of note, data were collected before recent protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and police brutality, among other BLM issues. AHSLs may have added or changed DEIA content during or after the protests.
Conclusions: Research data quantified DEIA content and explored selected themes in AHSL mission statements, diversity mission statements, and other statements which included DEIA elements.