Finding Balance, Promoting Respect

Libraries help foster a healthy and inclusive campus environment

Furry First FridaysThe MIT Libraries have long been a highly utilized and trusted source of support for the Institute community, but you may be surprised to learn the many ways the Libraries have been playing a more active role in creating a more respectful, caring, and healthy campus.

Here are just a few of the Libraries’ recent community-focused initiatives:

  • Bookmobiles celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month brought curated collections of books, audio books, and DVDs by, for, and about these communities to busy locations on campus.
  • Funding from MIT’s MindHandHeart Initiative will jumpstart a health and wellness collection, adding resources in key areas such as mental health, substance abuse, academic performance, and life skills and promoting them with health and wellness-themed bookmobiles.
  • Acknowledging that writing can be a solitary pursuit, Write Together, cohosted with the Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication program, invites students to work on assignments or personal projects in the company of others.
  • Two recent Wikipedia edit-a-thons enlisted the MIT community to help bring more diverse perspectives to the most accessed reference work in the world. Volunteer editors created and improved Wikipedia articles about African Americans in STEM and women in the arts.
  • Every Monday at noon in the Barker Reading Room, Om Under the Dome helps community members stay grounded with 30-minute silent meditations.
  • Building on the success of past therapy dog visits, Furry First Fridays is a monthly study break where students can de-stress with four-legged friends from Dog BONES: Therapy Dogs of Massachusetts.

“At the Libraries we work hard to ensure that our resources and services respond to the community’s needs and reflect its diversity. But it’s not always easy for students to seek them out,” says Nina Davis-Millis, who was appointed to the newly created position of director of Community Support and Staff Development last year. “By piloting some of these new programs, the Libraries are making our support more visible as well as bringing it to where the students are.”