The UIC University Library continually strives to make its facilities feel like “home” for everyone. We view our valued and diverse learning community members—students, faculty, staff, visiting researchers—as equal and vital contributors to the Library. In order to foster a more welcoming environment for everyone, the Library has formed a new partnership with Chicago artist Rich Alapack to bring the “we all live here” project to UIC. The project “uses art, community and technology to empower people and build communities that enable and encourage individuals to get along and succeed.”
Through the spring 2018 semester and summer months, the UIC Library will host innovative group art projects, installations and workshops to improve library users’ experience, enhance the library work environment and create a sense of welcoming for all. Upcoming activities and exhibits include:
- “we all live here” poster-making activities and contest at the Richard J. Daley Library, and the Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago. Activities take place at each of the locations on April 16, 2018: Daley Library, in the cafe area outside of Room 1-470 from 9-11 a.m.; Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago, LHS Imaging Studio, Room 121 from 12-4 p.m. Winners will be announced on the Library’s website and social media on April 23.
- Two interactive art exhibits will transform the lobby of the Richard J. Daley Library in late-April 2018 and the Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago in January 2019. Visitors to the library can share where they are from by interacting with a large-scale touch-reactive map of the world and share selfies taken in front of three-foot tall “we all live here” infinity mirrors.
- A book exhibit, “Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries” is on display on the second floor at the Richard J. Daley Library through June 2018. The topics range from histories of African American librarians, expanding access to libraries for underrepresented communities, cultural competency and how to serve LGBTQ communities. Patrons can check out any books of interest.
- A “Meet-the-Staff” campaign highlights our diverse and expert employees who assist Library users at our service points and work behind the scenes to keep the library running smoothly. The campaign begins in mid-April 2018.
Several “we all live here” events for Library staff took place in late March. At a University Library-wide staff meeting, attendees kicked-off the initiative by participating in a collaborative art-making exercise in which they created an installation using only sticky notes and the phrase, “we all live here.” Inclusion is an Art: A Conversation and Workshop, facilitated by diversity expert and personal coach Wendy Hirschberg, provided library staff with ideas and insights about to how to nurture a sense of community and respect for diversity in the library.
Also in late March and open to the public, a panel discussion about the acclaimed University of Illinois Press book, The Chicago Food Encyclopedia was held featuring editor Colleen Taylor Sen, PhD and contributor Ellen F. Steinberg, PhD. The talk was moderated by UIC University Library Director of Social Justice Projects and Research Sonia Yaco. Taylor Sen and Steinberg discussed how the book came about, the culinary history of Chicago and the role food plays in cultural identity. UIC University Library faculty, staff and student employees shared their own food traditions.
Further details about “we all live here at UIC Library” activities and exhibits will be posted on library.uic.edu in the coming weeks. We hope you will join us!