Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


The Newberry’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential to our mission: providing free and open access to a collection spanning more than six centuries, building and sustaining communities of learning, advancing and disseminating knowledge, and acquiring and preserving materials that represent a range of perspectives and experiences—including those that historically have been underappreciated, marginalized, or silenced.

Although the Newberry has been free and open to the public since opening its doors in 1887, the conception of the public that the library serves has not always been inclusive. As a civic institution that values the free exchange of ideas, the Newberry must embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion in order to be a resource for all of Chicago and beyond. Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion contributes to creative thinking, advances scholarship and the creation of new knowledge, and opens educational opportunities that enrich our understanding of the past, present, and future.

It is the Newberry’s duty to ensure that attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion informs all that we do, internally and externally. This is an urgent priority for the staff and board of trustees as we shape our institution and outreach to everyone who engages with the Newberry. We are dedicated to this essential work, the investment of resources, and the process of learning and growth necessary to evolve as an institution.

How We Define Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

As part of our ongoing effort to more intentionally address diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Newberry, our staff and board members work from a shared understanding of the following terms.


The variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance, such as race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, religion, language, abilities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and more. Prioritizing diversity means ensuring that our collections, programming, staff, and board of trustees embody multiple perspectives and are accessible and welcoming to all.


The commitment to fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for the entire Newberry community, including staff members, board members, researchers, partners, and the audiences we serve. A commitment to equity requires continually striving to identify and eliminate barriers that prevent the full participation of all people.


The act of creating environments in which every individual or group feels welcomed, respected, supported, and valued. Inclusive organizations and workplaces embrace differences, foster critical conversations, offer respect to all people who want to participate in and contribute to the Newberry community, and create fair and equitable environments where all staff members’ diverse identities are valued and appreciated.

Questions or Comments?

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We welcome questions and feedback on Newberry policies.