Feedback Requested: Respect For Diversity Policy

Updated 4/19/2021 12:14 PM CT

At the Illinois Heartland Library System Board of Directors meeting on March 23, 2021, a proposed diversity policy was reviewed by the Board of Directors in a first reading. It is now being sent out for public comment. Members of Illinois Heartland Library System are encouraged to review the proposed policy and share their comments prior to the next IHLS Policy and Membership Committee meeting, scheduled for Monday, May 10. 


Respect for Diversity

IHLS values the diversity of our employees, our library members, and our vendors and recognizes that a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion is beneficial to everyone connected to ILHS.

Our employees are the most valuable asset of IHLS, and their various differences, life experiences, knowledge, inventiveness, innovation, self-expression, unique capabilities, and other talents are key pieces to making IHLS successful and making everyone with whom IHLS interacts feel welcome. We embrace and encourage employees’ differences in age, race, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, language, national origin, religion, and other characteristics that make everyone unique.

IHLS will not tolerate harassment of any kind directed at any individual associated with IHLS. Employees who do not show respect for the diversity of any IHLS employee, library member, vendor, or anyone else doing business with IHLS will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge. There will be diversity at all levels of the organization.

  • Employees will recognize and respect each other’s differences
  • Employees will at all times engage in respectful communications with others
  • IHLS will provide a work environment that supports diversity
  • Employees will seek and nurture different perspectives
  • Employees at all levels should not tolerate behaviors in the workplace that are inconsistent with IHLS’s commitment to workplace diversity, building a diverse workforce, and providing equal opportunities to all regardless of age, race, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, language, national origin, religion, and any other characteristics protected by applicable law

To make a public comment, please use the comments form below. Public comment will close after Sunday, May 9, 2021. IHLS Policy and Membership Committee will review the comments at their next meeting, scheduled for Monday, May 10, 2021.




Library Name: 
Smithton Public Library District
This sounds good to me. Thank you! Typo correction: ILHS should read IHLS at the end of the first paragraph.

Library Name: 
Rend Lake College
Rethink the paragraph that begins with IHLS will not tolerate harassment The title states this is a statement on the respect for diversity. The organization should have a harassment policy in place. And, you should just state that employees may be subject to disciplinary action for violating the policy without stating the up to an including discharge. You should have a disciplinary action plan stating steps taking in a separate document for employees. Unclear on how to interpret the statement there will be diversity at all levels of the organization?

Library Name: 
Worden Public Library District
I completely approve of this policy.

Library Name: 
Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center
I think an item on how IHLS would support individuals who are having issues with diversity would be good. Maybe even include who, or what position, to contact.

Library Name: 
Westville Public Library
While I agree with the concepts and practice of respect for each person, whether they be employee, patron, vendor, etc,, I have an issue with the language and verbiage of the policy proposal. Namely, how do you go about "embrace, encourage, building" a diverse workplace without identifying, asking, and recruiting to each of the unique sub-groups listed in the document? A few physical characteristics are easy to observe (age, race, gender, and some disabilities). others not so. If it is IHLS' objective to attain to diversity and inclusion along all of these identifiers, is it the intent to inquire of applicants or to advertise (solicit) applicants meeting those identifiers (it is my understanding that that practice is illegal under the EEO act)? Again, not in opposition to the concept, just curious as to how it can legally be implemented without violating the law as currently written? Also, how would that affect current employees, vendors, etc, if the workforce doesn't reflect the diverse populations you're seeking? These tend to be issues that must be confronted when diversity and inclusion overrides qualified talent and performance.

Library Name: 
Illinois State Museum
I commend IHLS for drafting this statement to support diversity. I would, however, like to encourage you to consider using DEAI rather than just DEI. Accessibility is a crucial part of the diversity initiative, and unfortunately, a lot of institutions leave this out, claiming that accessibility is "covered by the other aspects of DEI." However, I've heard many in the disabled community disagree, and I would like to see accessibility be added back in whenever possible. Also, rather than "We embrace and encourage employees’ differences in age, race, disability..." I would recommend changing "disability" to "abilities." Also, DEAI generally goes beyond just prohibiting discriminatory behavior. It also includes creating equal opportunities for all folks within the institution. You might want to consider other ways that you can create a more inclusive environment, including in your hiring, promotional, and administrative opportunities.