Sept. 26, 2022 – Valparaiso, Indiana – The Christopher Center Library at Valparaiso University has been named the recipient of an Advancing Racial Equity Collections Development Grant of $1,000 through Indiana Humanities to expand and diversify the selection of books offered through their system. Rachael Muszkiewicz, an assistant professor of library science, is leading an ongoing effort by the library to create a more diverse, inclusive collection. 

“I never go into this kind of thing expecting to receive anything, so this has made me very excited,” Muszkiewicz said. “It’s something we want to do a lot more of in libraries, and it’s something our students are really energized about.”

Indiana Humanities is a statewide nonprofit that works to intertwine humanities with the daily lives of Indiana residents. The grant allows libraries to select works from their list of 400 books, films and other materials to meet the surging demand for materials on the topic of racial equity. 

Muszkiewicz estimates that 60-65 books will be purchased in-total, and should be on display and ready for student use by the end of the fall semester. Of this list of available titles provided by Indiana Humanities for purchase, the Christopher Center Library has elected to pursue only adult, nonfiction books that have been published within the last three years. 

“We want the books to be up-to-date and nonfiction, because that’s what our students use for research projects,” Muszkiewicz said. 

Adding these books to the collection of over 150,000 volumes housed at the Christopher Center Library is only one step in creating a more diverse library environment. On top of breaking from traditional library standards in order to create more inclusive terminology within the library catalog, the library will continue to use available funding to add the works of more traditionally underrepresented authors. 

Learn more about the Christopher Center Library’s mission and vision here