VCU was well represented this week at the fall meeting of the Association of Research Libraries in Washington. The Association of Research Libraries is a membership organization of libraries and archives in major public and private universities, federal government agencies and large public institutions in Canada and the US. ARL advocates on research libraries’ behalf, convenes research and higher education partners, shares intelligence on current issues, and develops the next generation of diverse library leaders.

Among presenters in the delegation, University Archivist Jodi Koste spoke on a panel about “Working with the Community: Specifically Local/Regional, Marginalized, Indigenous Communities.” Discussing engagement with minority communities, she discussed the reclamation of the African Burial Ground, VCU’s Year of Freedom Civil War Sesquicentennial program, the removal of place names and artwork related to the Confederacy, and the East Marshall Street Well project. Through these events and activities, both VCU and the libraries enhanced their engagement skills and helped to initiate open conversations about the institution’s racist legacy. 

Research Data Librarian Nina Exner, Ph.D., (pictured) spoke in a session “Why or Why Not Open Data in the Context of the Research Landscape?” that explored open data in the context of current research issues, such as data privacy, secure research environments and funding mandates. The panel—including perspectives from the library, university research security, and national policy—explored how these issues intersect with open-data goals and the implications for researchers, libraries, and higher education institutions. The panelists had a lively discussion about current and emerging issues in open science, data privacy, research security and funder advocacy for ensuring the taxpaying public has fair access to scientific discovery. There was plenty to discuss about how to balance the goals of ethics, security, and openness in the modern environment for research data.

Categories Faculty/Staff, Librarians at Work, Service to the profession