National group honors Giesecke's focus on diversity

Joan Giesecke
Joan Giesecke

Joan Giesecke, dean of Libraries, is the 2011 recipient of the American Library Association Equality Award. The annual award is given to an individual or group for outstanding contributions toward promoting equality in the library profession.

Letters supporting Giesecke's nomination emphasized her vision, leadership, energy, research, presentations and mentoring to increase the gender and racial diversity among librarians at UNL, within the profession and in the higher education community.

She has made diversity a priority, incorporating it into the strategic plan for the UNL Libraries. Diversity is also included in staff development, training, recruitment and retention strategies.

Diversity among UNL Libraries staff has increased from 2 percent 10 years ago to 12 percent in 2010.

"(Joan) serves as a model for making inclusion work, whether to bring professionals of color into her organization or to advance women into positions of leadership," said Janice Welburn of the Marquette University library.

Among her professional activities in support of diversity is her longstanding membership on the ARL Diversity Committee, mentoring individuals in various ARL diversity programs.

"We have benefited significantly from Joan's devotion to building a respectful, equitable and diverse campus culture," said Ellen Weissinger, senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at UNL. "It is all too common for leaders in higher education to display a shallow understanding of the intrinsic value of diversity, and all too rare to find a person like Joan, who invests her core energies and personal capital in pursuit of a more diverse intellectual community."

The award will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans in June.