Category Archives: Diversity News

Diversity Retreat 2019 Coming Soon

By: Brent Stump

Diversity Retreat 2019 is fast approaching and space is filling up quickly! Luckily, you can still register at

  • Highlights of the retreat include:
    Dr. Alina Wong, Assistant Vice Provost of Penn State University, presenting ​​”From Ally to Advocate to Accomplice: Accountability for Action”
  • Dr. Joy Cox of Rutgers University, presenting “What to Do When the Chairs Don’t Fit,” a discussion on weight bias
  • Shakoor Ward of the Penn State Affirmative Action office, presenting “Cultural Competency Intervention in the Workplace: From Knowing to Doing”

Please visit
to read more about these programs and several other though-provoking events during the day.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided. The Diversity retreat is open to all employees, and arrangements for travel funding can be made HERE.

Anyone not able to attend in person is encouraged to view all presentations via Media Site Live (no registration required)

Disability Awareness Month Booklist

By: Dawn Amsberry

April is Disability Awareness Month, also called Diversability Month, at Penn State. In recognition of Diversability, the Libraries Accessibility Committee has compiled the following list of books written by people with disabilities. These stories, memoirs and essays, all available in the University Libraries, provide an insider’s view of the diverse lived experiences of people with various disabilities. We hope you will enjoy exploring these titles. For further reading, the National Consortium on Developmental Disabilities has a comprehensive list of recommended books about the disability experience.

Autobiography of a Face
Lucy Grealy

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Jean-Dominique Bauby

El Deafo
Cece Bell

Exile & Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation
Eli Clare

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s 
John Elder Robison

Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence
John Hockenberry

My Body Politic: A Memoir
Simi Linton

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey
Jill Taylor

No Walls of Stone: An Anthology of Literature by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Writers
Jill Christine Jepson

The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal
Jonathan Mooney

Stuttering: A Life Bound Up in Words
Marty Jezer

There’s a Boy in Here
Judy Barron and Sean Barron

Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports from My Life with Autism
Temple Grandin

Too Late to Die Young
Harriet McBryde Johnson

What’s That Pig Outdoors?: A Memoir of Deafness
Henry Kisor

April is Disability Awareness Month

By: Dawn Amsberry

April is Disability Awareness Month, also called Diversability Month, at Penn State. The theme “Diversability” emphasizes the various abilities and talents of people with disabilities.

In recognition of Diversability Month, Student Disability Resources and the Libraries Accessibility Committee are sponsoring a panel presentation titled “Life Transitions for Students with Intellectual Disabilities from High School to College to Work.” The panel will feature students from the LifeLink program, faculty involved with the WorkLink program, and community employers such as Good Day Café and Tap Root Kitchen. LifeLink, a partnership between the State College Area School District and the Penn State College of Education, helps SCASD students with disabilities ages 18-21 enroll in classes at University Park, and matches them with Penn State student volunteer mentors.

The event will be held Tuesday April 2 2019 from 2-4 pm in Foster Auditorium and via MediaSite Live. More information about this program and other Diversibility Month events is available on the Penn State Diversability web page.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Submitted by: Alia Gant

May 17th is Global Accessibility Awareness Day or GAAD. This is the 7th year for this initiative to build awareness regarding technology and overall discussion about access for individuals with disabilities. GAAD has stated the following regarding this initiative, “the target audience of GAAD is the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use. While people may be interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, the reality is that they often do not know how or where to start. Awareness comes first.”

Throughout the month, an array of events are taking place throughout the world, both in person as well as virtually to discuss awareness of disabilities and accessibility. These events can be found here .

To celebrate GAAD, the Libraries Accessibility Committee will show a webinar describing and introducing screen readers. You may also sign up to watch the webinar remotely by using the following link:–VTBYDlm5UdireMqVkd14QKvdFr6zKUfO3x_dFec58y-Sz7tJ0ouGZT9AxP5JJz91781B9qOAi8hfsPMeKDtqeAz0eew&_hsmi=62135157

The webinar will start at 1 pm on May 17, in room 403, Paterno Library.

We hope to see you there!

Diversability/Disability Awareness Month

By: Dawn Amsberry

April is Diversability Awareness Month at Penn State. This month-long awareness campaign emphasizes the diverse talents and abilities of people with disabilities. The specific theme this
year is Autism Spectrum. In celebration of the theme, several campus-wide events are planned and listed on the Diversability web page. These events “promote an atmosphere where individuals are comfortable discussing and exploring questions about accessibility, equality, and inclusion for people with disabilities.”

The Libraries Accessibility Committee has compiled a list of suggested reading related to Autism Spectrum. The following titles can be found in the Libraries collections:

A History of Autism: Conversations With the Pioneers
Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and Other ASDs
Autism, Adolescence, and Adult: Finding the Path to Independence
Best Boy: A Novel
Caring for Autism: Practical Advice from a Parent and Physician
Disability and U.S. Politics: Participation, Policy, and Controversy
Fall Down Seven Times Get up Eight: A Young Man’s Voice from the Silence of Autism
Ginny Moon Going to college with Autism: Tips and Strategies from Successful Voices
NeuroTribes: the Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People who Think Differently
Shining a Light on the Autism Spectrum: Experiences and Aspirations of Adults
The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum
Thinking in Pictures: And Other Reports from Life with Autism
To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines
Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism

Diversity Retreat: Advancing the conversation on inclusion

By: Alia C Gant

Registration is now open for “Diversity Retreat: Advancing the Conversation on Inclusion,” which will be held on April 16, 2018. To register, go to: 

For information on the agenda, sessions, and travel procedures for campus participants, go to:

The morning program will include two sessions with three concurrent training offerings. The afternoon program will include lightning talks and the LFO Colloquium, followed by a light reception and wrap-up discussion. You do not need to register if you only plan to attend or view the afternoon presentations. They are open to all and not restricted to retreat participants. (Attend in person in Foster Auditorium or view on MediaSite Live.)

We intend to have some great discussions on this day and hope that many campus participants can attend!

Space is limited, so try and sign up soon!

Diversity Committee and Library Faculty Organization

Diversity Retreat schedule now online

By: Lana  Munip

Registration for the April 16 Diversity Retreat opens on March 12. To see the day’s schedule, please go to
For the morning program, you’ll have the opportunity to choose from discussions on rankism in the Libraries, bystander training on bias and discrimination, or a “Speak Up!” session, where you will work in groups to craft strong responses to acts of incivility. For something a little lighter, we’ll also host a speed networking session. This invariably fun social activity aims to develop social bonds among employees and is great whether you are new to the Libraries or have been here a long time.

After lunch we’ll have lightning talks presented by staff and faculty (we’ll send out more information on that in the coming weeks) and the LFO Colloquium. Please see the schedule for full details on the speakers.

Note: You don’t have to register for the Retreat if you only want to attend/view the afternoon program – just come to Foster Auditorium or view on MediaSite Live at:
Lightning Talks and LFO Colloquium

Funding is available for campus participants. If you have any questions, please contact Lana Munip at, or 814-863-1939.

You’re Invited – Diversity Open House

Diversity Open House flyer

This Wednesday February 21st from 11-2pm the Engineering Library, located in 325 Hammond, will be hosting an open house to celebrate underrepresented and marginalized groups in  engineering—as well as raise awareness of the existing resources that the University Libraries, the College of Engineering, and the University at large provide to help members of these groups thrive.

The event will feature a variety of guests from across the University whose work encourages and supports diversity, outreach, and inclusion. Activities will include a display of historical minority figures within the field, resources exhibit, and a meet and greet with student groups and other important organizations across campus.

All are welcome and lunch will be provided!

Please contact the Engineering Library at 814-865-3451,, or Vanessa Eyer for more information.

Save the Date — Daylong diversity retreat: all welcome!

By: Lana  Munip

The Diversity Committee, in collaboration with the Library Faculty Organization, will hold a one-day retreat at University Park for library employees on April 16, 2018. All employees are invited, and the administration has approved travel funding for campus employees. Registration
will open in March, so keep an eye out for more announcements in the coming weeks!

The first half of the day will be filled with training programs related to civility, rankism, and bias. Among the offerings will be “Speak Up!,” which examines work-related interpersonal conflict scenarios. Participants, in small groups, will work through scenarios to develop collective responses. This program is adapted from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Speak Up!
Responding to Everyday Bigotry.”

Linda Klimczyk, chair of the Strategic Action Item on “Professional Development in Diversity,” will lead “Community Dialogue: Rankism here? Where? Who?” This facilitated discussion invites participants to share their perspectives on various aspects of rankism in the University Libraries. In addition, the morning sessions will include a speed networking event and bias reporting training.

The afternoon sessions will be held in Foster Auditorium, and are open to all employees, not only those participating in the retreat. Lightning Talks on diversity research, programming, and personal experiences related to diversity at work will be presented by library staff and faculty. (A call will go out soon for presenters – stay tuned.) This will be followed by the LFO Colloquium, a panel presentation featuring Jody Gray, director of the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services, Charlene Maxey-Harris, associate professor and chair of the Research and Instructional Services Department, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, and Jeff Witt,
Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, University of Michigan Library. The afternoon sessions will be available on MediaSite Live. A post-presentation discussion and reception will round out the afternoon program.

For more information on the retreat, please contact Lana Munip ( For more information on the LFO panel presentation and speakers, please contact Val Lynn (

Diversity Committee guest speaker to focus on ‘inreach’

By Lana  Munip

The Diversity Committee’s next monthly meeting on Wednesday, November 15, at 1-2
p.m., is open to all library employees — please join us on Zoom (, or in person (510 Paterno).

Guest speaker Leslie Laing will focus on “inreach”: how to better engage
students in our spaces, and how to fully embrace diversity initiatives at
work. Leslie is the director of Adult Learner Programs and Services in
Student Affairs at University Park and serves the adult and veteran
population. She is a long-standing member and past president of the Forum on
Black Affairs (FOBA) and a member of the Community Diversity Group in State
College. In addition, Leslie has chaired the local Diversity Conference for
Embracing & Implementing Inclusion, and played a central role in planning the
University-wide Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations for many years. There
will be time for questions, and then we’ll round out the meeting with brief
reports from our four subcommittees — Civility, Programming, Collections,
and Strategic Action.

Our 2017/18 minutes:

“The Abundance Project: Radical Inclusion, The Power of Families and Dreaming Bigger” highlights diversability message

"When you consider that 499 out of 500 babies suffer from a lack of Down Syndrome, my parents were incredibly lucky." Fionn Crombie Angus

Fionn and Johnathon Angus, a father and son team from the West of Ireland, will present The Abundance Project: Radical Inclusion, the Power of Families, and Dreaming Bigger on Oct. 17, as part of the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity Student Disability Resources’ Diversability Awareness Month initiative. 

The program is open to the public, and begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library. The event will also be streamed online for viewing via Mediasite Live.

The Angus’ will share an incredible story of the journey they embarked on three years ago —illustrated with photos, short films and music — chronicling their experiences in creating healthy and strong families and communities, surviving and thriving through the school years, meeting challenges creatively, world travel and the elements of a great life. This is an inspirational and family friendly presentation for artists, entrepreneurs, social change agents, advocates and people who support people they love.

Fionn Crombie Angus is a 2-year-old man from Ireland with Down syndrome whose interests include nature studies, film making, visual arts, playing his fiddle, and travel. He manages his own government funded support plan, and is a member of the Irish Government Task Force for Personal Budgets. His father, Jonathan Angus, is a school teacher originally from America. Together they started Fionnathan Productions, to record and share their journey so other families can learn from their unorthodox approaches.

This presentation is hosted by Dr. Michael Bérubé, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature, and is co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania State University, The Libraries Accessibility Committee and Penn State University Libraries.

For more information, please contact Dr. Michael Bérubé at

Docunight presents touching portrait of cinema giant Kiarostami July 5

Just one day after the one-year anniversary of the death of world-renowned filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, “76 Minutes and 15 Seconds with Abbas Kiarostami” will be featured for Docunight: Iran via Documentaries. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 5 in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, on the University Park campus. Co-sponsored by the Iranian Student Association and Penn State University Libraries, Docunight events are scheduled for the first Wednesday of each month and are free and open to the public.

Acclaimed photographer Seifollah Semadian, long-time collaborator with Kiarostami, turned years of behind-the-scenes footage shot during their close creative partnership into a beautiful, understated and inspiring tribute to this giant of cinema by simply allowing the audience to watch Kiarostami at work. Kiarostami was a visionary, known for his films “Koker Trilogy” (1987), “Close-up” (1990), “Taste of Cherry” (1997), which was awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and “The Wind Will Carry Us” (1999), a Silver Lion winner at the Venice Film Festival, among many others.

The entire Penn State News article can be viewed online. An 8.5×11 promotional poster for “76′ 15″ with Abbas Kiarostami” is available as a downloadable PDF to print or share. For more information on this event, or for questions about accommodations or the physical access provided, contact Mark Mattson, global partnerships and outreach librarian, at 814-863-2480 or in advance of the event.

Reminder: Diversity Programming and Research Colloquium May 17

We hope you will be able to join us for the University Libraries’ Diversity Committee’s Annual Diversity Programing and Research Colloquium from 2:30-4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, University Park, and Mediasite Live.

This event will share research, projects, and programs that build on the Libraries’ commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion. Our presenters will examine a number of approaches that include working with our colleagues, collections, and community.

Each presenter will deliver a 15-minute presentation followed by a brief question and answer session.

1. Carmen Gass, 2:30-2:50 p.m.
Team Library: What exactly was it all about?

2. Emily Mross & Christina Reihman-Murphy, 2:50-3:10 p.m.
Commonality of Prayer Spaces in Libraries

3. Megan Mac Gregor, 3:10-3:30 p.m.
Libraries, Community Outreach, and LGBTQ History

4. Kimberli Kelmor, 3:30-3:50 p.m.
Measuring Diversity in Academic Law Library Collections

5. Elizabeth Hobart, 3:50-4:10 p.m.
Researching Racial Privilege: The Role of Library of Congress Subject
Headings in Finding Materials

6. Mark Mattson, 4:10-4:30 p.m.
The Many Faces of Intercultural Dialogue: Working with Other Campus Groups

– submitted by Jose Guerrero, Diversity Resident Librarian

Global Accessibility Day, Upcoming Libraries’ events

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is Thursday, May 18, 2017. The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion. GAAD started in 2011 as a way for web developers to educate themselves and others about how to create web pages that are accessible to people with disabilities and has since become an
international initiative with events around the globe.

The Libraries Accessibility Committee invites you to take the opportunity to learn more about digital accessibility. The GAAD website encourages “designers, developers, usability professionals, and everyone else to take an hour to experience first-hand the impact of digital accessibility (or lack thereof).” A few suggested activities to raise awareness about

A few suggested activities to raise awareness about accessibility issues are:

  • Unplug your mouse. People who are not able to use a mouse rely on other input devices, such as their keyboard. Try unplugging your mouse and using only your keyboard (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) to navigate. If you’ve been involved in the creation of a web page, see if you can interact with all the elements on the page using the keyboard alone.
  • Browse the web with a screen reader. Screen readers read the text on a screen aloud for users with sight loss, or for any users who prefer hearing content rather than reading. Windows has a built-in screen reader, Narrator, or PC users can also try the free screen reader tool NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access). For Mac users, use the built-in screen reader VoiceOver.
  • Learn about other accessibility features on your devices. Both Windows and Mac operating systems have built-in accessibility features, as do iPhone and Android devices.

More activities and information are on the GAAD website participation page.

Also, mark your calendars for two upcoming events sponsored by the Libraries
Accessibility Committee:

  • June 6, 1:30-3:00 p.m., Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, University Park
    Panel discussion with the State College Sight Loss Support Group of Central PA
    and the Happy Valley Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind
  • July 18, 1:30-3:00 p.m., Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, University Park
    Presentation on the Summer Academy at Penn State, a program focused on enhancing independence skills for high-school students who are blind, vision impaired, deaf or hard of hearing and are transitioning to college.

For more information, contact the Libraries Accessibility Committee at

The Libraries Accessibility Committee (LAC) is seeking new members to join the committee beginning in fall 2017. All Libraries faculty and staff at all locations are eligible to serve. Contact Emily Rimland, LAC Chair, at, for more information.

– submitted by Dawn Amsberry, Libraries Accessibility Committee

‘CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap’ film screening April 18

A public screening of “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap,” a documentary that includes profiles of successful women in computer science careers, will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18 in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, University Park. This event is sponsored by the Penn State University Libraries Diversity Programming Committee in collaboration with information science and technology and computer engineering liaison librarians Carmen Cole and Vanessa Eyer.

As tech jobs are growing three times faster than our colleges are producing computer science graduates, “CODE” exposes the shortage of American female and minority software engineers. “CODE” examines the reasons why more girls and people of color are not seeking opportunities in computer science and explores how cultural mindsets, stereotypes, educational hurdles and sexism all play roles in this national crisis.

A discussion following the film will be moderated by Karen Estlund, the University Libraries associate dean for technology and digital strategies.

The complete Penn State News article can be read online and an 8.5×11 downloadable PDF for “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap,” is also available to share with potentially interested colleagues.

For more information on this service, or for questions about accommodations and the physical access provided, contact Sherry Roth, University Libraries Diversity Programming committee member, at 814-865-1011 or in advance of this event.

Sundance Grand Jury winner “Sonita” featured for Docunight screening April 5

woman wearing a red baseball cap holds index holds her finger over her mouth to indicate "no speaking"

Sonita Alizadeh, who dreams of being a rapper, is the main subject of the 2016 documentary, “Sonita”

Valuable to her family as a bride to be sold, 17-year-old Sonita Alizadeh instead dreams of a becoming a rapper. As women are forbidden to sing in Iran, she performs only for her fellow refugees in a Tehran shelter.

“Sonita,” the April selection for the “Docunight: Iran via Documentaries” series, will be shown at 7 p.m. on April 5 at Mont Alto in the Mont Alto Campus Library and University Park. For the April event at University Park, the film screening will be held in 102 Chemistry Building. Co-sponsored by the Iranian Student Association and Penn State University Libraries, Docunight events are free and open to the public.

Sonita” won the 2016 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for best world cinema documentary. Directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, the film focuses on the efforts to end child marriage and shows the risks and traditional obstacles for an Afghani family living in exile in Iran.

The Docunight series is an initiative to encourage cultural exchange and understanding of Iran through documentaries. The films are about, around, or in Iran, or made by Iranians, and the American showings are part of a collaboration with the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).

The Penn State News article is available online and an 8.5×11 poster PDF is available for download here. For more information on this event, or for questions about accommodations or the physical access provided, contact Mark Mattson, global partnerships and outreach librarian, at 814-863-2480 or in advance of the event.



Brandywine designs discussion group using Libraries’ microgrant

group of students sitting at tables arranged in a U-shaped configurationArticle and image by Haleigh Swanson, Penn State Brandywine

Last summer, Penn State Brandywine instructors and librarians worked together to design a unique book discussion group for the Multilingual Student Course Cluster and Brandywine Learning. The Multilingual Student Course Cluster supports students who are non-native speakers of English and need assistance developing English language skills, while Brandywine Learning enhances academic achievement through free, on-campus tutoring.

“University Libraries offers innovation microgrants each year,” said Annie Jansen, assistant librarian at Brandywine. “Over the summer, we came up with this idea of using Kindle Fires so we could use a textbook and audio book simultaneously.”

The audio-visual options offered by a Kindle allow students to interact with the assigned book in a variety of ways, aided by embedded features like dictionaries and reference sites. After interacting with the books on their Kindles, students in the Multilingual Student Course Cluster and Brandywine Learning met for a joint book discussion. The coordinators also raffled off three Kindle Fires to student participants.

The book club format serves obvious educational purposes, such as encouraging intellectual discussion. It has also proven beneficial for social and nonacademic reasons. Christine Brown, coordinator of Brandywine Learning, Jansen and Deb Ousey, coordinator of the Multilingual Student Course Cluster, hope to continue exploring new possibilities with the Kindle-based book discussion, opening more students to a collaborative approach to reading.

The complete Penn State News article is available for online reading.

‘Docunight’ features films with connections to Iran

promotional graphic for "Sohrab, A Journey" documentary about Iranian filmmaker Sohrab Shahid SalessDocunight, co-sponsored by the Penn State University Libraries and the Iranian Student Association, will present monthly documentary films about, around, or in Iran, or made by Iranians, the first Wednesday of every month in 2017. Screenings take place across several cities in North America.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library on the University Park campus, Docunight will feature “Sohrab, A Journey,” (2016), about filmmaker Sohrab Shahid Saless. Returning to Iran after studying cinema and living abroad, Saless makes a daring choice for his career path and becomes a pioneer in Iranian cinema. His features “A Simple Event” and “Still Life” are remembered today as the most important and most influential first examples of the formation of Iranian modern cinema. “Sohrab, A Journey,” directed by Omid Abdollahi, is in Persian with English subtitles.