July 2023

I have so enjoyed the conversations we have been having in my first month here at Illinois, and I look forward to our upcoming academic year with excitement, pride, and a sense of optimism: we really are well-positioned to build on our excellent history of leadership, and to deepen our collaborations across the university.

Unfortunately, as I was writing this edition of my note, the United States Supreme Court had just handed down a set of decisions in two affirmative action cases that will strike a heavy blow to our ability to continue to build a more diverse and representative student body. Thankfully, the leadership at Illinois continues to believe very strongly that we must redouble our efforts to recruit and retain students of color and students from other underrepresented groups. I would urge every one of us to expand our thinking about the role the Library plays in that work.  At our Hangout earlier this month, Victor Jones provided an update on work he is leading to develop a charge for a new diversity committee. We offered a thought-starter for all Library units: as you work on goals (collective and individual) for the upcoming academic year, what is the specific way your work contributes to our vision of a more diverse, equitable, and just world? I look forward to continuing this planning and these discussions with a renewed sense of urgency.

Claire Stewart
The Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian