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January 16, 2024


San Diego Mesa College Library and Learning Resource Center Receives Insight Into Diversity Magazine’s 2024 Library Excellence in Access and Diversity (LEAD) Award

National Recognition of Academic Libraries That Are Making a Difference for All Underrepresented Groups

By Jennifer Kearns, Dr. Edeama Onwuchekwa Jonah

Library Excellence in Access and Diversity Award Logo

San Diego, CA. —  Today, the San Diego Mesa College Library and Learning Resource Center (LRC)   received the 2024 Library Excellence in Access and Diversity (LEAD) Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. The LEAD Award honors academic libraries’ programs and initiatives that encourage and support DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) across their campus. These include, but are not limited to research, technology, accessibility, exhibitions, and community outreach. San Diego Mesa College will be featured, along with 55 other recipients, in the March 2024 issue of Insight Into Diversity magazine.

 

“I am so proud that the Mesa College Library has earned this Library Excellence in Access and Diversity (LEAD) Award,” stated Dr. Ashanti T. Hands, President of Mesa College. “In 2019, we were intentional when we hired an Equity and Engagement Librarian – the first and only one in the region - who would promote access, outreach, and literacy services to underserved groups, including ethnic and racial minorities, gender differences, and students with disabilities.”

 

Insight Into Diversity Magazine selected the San Diego Mesa College Library and Learning Resource Center (LRC) because Mesa College and the Library are committed to promoting access, outreach, and literacy services to underserved groups, including ethnic and racial minorities, gender differences, and people with disabilities.  

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 LRC Staff Group Photo     

 

The Mesa College Library has multiple Equity and Excellence Initiatives. One of these initiatives included hiring the first and only Equity and Engagement Librarians in the San Diego region, Dr. Edeama Onwuchekwa Jonah. As the leading college of equity and excellence, efforts related to recruiting, retaining, and advancing a diverse library staff are crucial for fostering an inclusive and representative work environment. These efforts typically align with broader diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives of San Diego Mesa College.

 

“We know that many academic libraries are not always recognized for their dedication to diversity, inclusion, and access” says Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of Insight Into Diversity magazine. “We are proud to honor these college and university libraries as role models for other institutions of higher education.”

 

The Equity and Engagement Librarian works with library staff and other librarians to assess the DEI progress of the library and ensure that the library supports students with equity and inclusion at the center of the services provided. True engagement positions the library as a catalyst in the communities it serves. The Mesa College Library has provided increased engagement with students and initiated models to lower barriers and increase access for students, especially marginalized student populations

 

Additionally, the Mesa College Library also created a 5-year DEIAA plan that is designed to help break down barriers and expand access to library resources for our underrepresented students. This is a unique plan, separate from but joined with the Mesa2030 Master Plan, and serves as a guide to develop activities, spaces, and programs that support a sense of belonging with a focus on antiracism, historically minoritized groups, and inclusion.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                         LRC Building Campus Photo

 

Another unique Mesa College program is the embedded Librarian initiative focused on underserved and disproportionately impacted student groups, which began as an initial request for class visits for our students in Black Studies Classes. The Equity Librarian has worked with faculty to expand the program, which now serves over 350 black students in their research sessions and embedded library class visits.

 

“Preparing for the 2023 LEAD application was very reflective and was extremely helpful in providing us with a framework to analyze our Equity-minded practices,” stated Dr. Dr. Edeama Onwuchekwa Jonah. “We applied for the LEAD Award because the San Diego Mesa College Library Team would like to shine the light on our Equity and Excellence Initiatives, especially removing barriers and providing access to our underserved student populations.”

 

A call for nominations for this award was announced in October 2023.

 

Contact: Dr. Edeama Onwuchekwa Jonah, ejonah@sdccd.edu

 

About San Diego Mesa College

San Diego Mesa College is a fully accredited, comprehensive community college committed to access, success, and equity. We honor those commitments as a diverse community of students, faculty, professional staff, and administrators who collaborate to foster scholarship, leadership, innovation, and excellence in an inclusive learning environment. By promoting student learning and achievement that leads to degrees and certificates, transfer, workforce training, and lifelong learning, we empower our students to reach their educational goals and shape their future.  Among the largest community colleges in California, Mesa College serves 30,000 students per year, 25% of whom are full-time. Mesa offers nearly 200 associate degree and certificate programs and is one of 15 California community colleges offering a four-year baccalaureate degree. Mesa ranks as San Diego’s top transfer institution, is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution and a Military Friendly School, serving more than 3,500 veterans, active military and their families. www.sdmesa.edu.

About Insight Into Diversity  

Insight Into Diversity magazine is the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education today. Insight is the leader in recognizing inclusive excellence in higher education through its many prestigious awards. They are also known for being the leader in advancing best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion through their website and print magazine. Current, archived, and digital issues of Insight Into Diversity magazine are available online at insightintodiversity.com

 

Find San Diego Mesa College on Social Media:

Facebook.com: sandiegomesacollege

Twitter.com: sdmesacollege

Instagram.com: sdmesacollege

Youtube: youtube.com: sdmesacollege

Snapchat: sdmesacollege

LinkedIn: San Diego Mesa College

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Tags: Library Excellence in Access and Diversity Award, Mesa College LRC, Press Release, Mesa College Library