WIU Libraries name founding diversity officer

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Jade Kastel

Western Illinois University Music Librarian Jade Kastel has been named the founding diversity officer with WIU Libraries, effective Jan. 18. She will continue as the music librarian while taking on the new responsibilities.

The position includes implementing the WIU Libraries Diversity Plan, which was developed by faculty, staff and students in 2022. The plan promotes establishing a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, accessibility (DEIJA), and antiracism at WIU Libraries.

Kastel’s responsibilities as diversity officer include:

  • Serving as a strategic advisor to the WIU Libraries’ dean and its senior leadership team in all areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, accessibility (DEIJA) and antiracism.
  • Engaging Library staff, and the University community, in planning, implementing and assessing the WIU Libraries Diversity Plan.
  • Providing consultations to Library personnel, teams and units as they work to increase DEIJA in the Libraries’ programs and services.
  • Emphasizing the expansion of and access to collections that reflect the diversity of the individuals we serve, including representation of and by Indigenous Peoples, and other historically underrepresented or excluded communities.
  • Advising Library hiring authorities to integrate best practices in the recruitment, selection and onboarding processes for student-worker, faculty and staff positions within the WIU Libraries.
  • Chairing the WIU Libraries Diversity Committee with a shared commitment to the vision, implementation and continued evaluation of the WIU Libraries Diversity Plan.

“Since my arrival as dean of Libraries, one of my priorities is to establish a culture in which diversity is the center of our services and collections,” said WIU Dean of Libraries Héctor J. Maymí-Sugrañes of the office designation. “The development of the first Diversity Plan in the history of WIU Libraries is an integral part of our strategic planning. The role of the diversity officer is to oversee the implementation of the Diversity Plan at the WIU Libraries.”

Kastel said University Libraries are “inherently interdisciplinary, collaborating across departments and courses, providing meeting and study spaces, and developing partnerships with writing and tutoring centers.”

“Because of this intersectionality, academic libraries are in a unique position to promote and further diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, justice, LGBTQ visibility, and antiracism within the campus community,” she said.

For more information about the WIU Libraries, visit wiu.edu/libraries.

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