MSR principal Traci Engel Lesneski was recently interviewed by Leonard Novy as part of the Goethe Institut’s “Future Libraries” series of articles and interviews that shed light on challenges and trends facing libraries, as well as examples of success for the future of the library. The interview uncovers the need to go beyond merely talking about diversity and inclusion within libraries to ensure that the future of the library is welcoming for all.
Asked about what it takes to design an inclusive library, Traci states, “The health of any ecosystem relies on biodiversity. Likewise, the health of a community, and of a library as a reflection of its community, depends on its capacity for diversity. Libraries serve a wide variety of people. As facilities housing inclusive organizations, they should be designed to support as broad a cross-section of people as possible. People experience buildings differently, depending on their own cultural, social, economic, and physical circumstances, yet many buildings are designed to accommodate a narrow slice of the human population. In some cases, inequity is being constructed into the built environment. . . . Creating an inclusive building requires an inclusive process.”