Developing Global Citizens & Supporting Social Justice on Campus


By: Sabine Jean Dantus, Outreach Librarian, Lynn University Library; Stacy Alesi, Information Desk Librarian, Lynn University Library; Paige Stewart, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Lynn University Library

The Lynn University Library’s mission is to prepare the next generation of innovators for success in life as information-savvy global citizens. In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, the Lynn librarians decided to start the “Be a Global Citizen” Social Justice series.

Global citizens understand that the world is rife with injustice and work to make both their local and the global community a more equitable place for all. We hoped that by curating resources and hosting programs and events on social justice issues, we could spark conversations in our university community about inclusion, equity, and diversity.

Resource Guides

The majority of LibGuides and other materials our library produces are targeted to students and tied directly to course work. For the “Be a Global Citizen” series, our goal was to look beyond our academic offerings and selected resources that appeal to the broader Lynn University community. For our first guide in the series, #BlackLivesMatter, we started by examining our existing collection. This exercise highlighted our need to buy more current titles and, more importantly, buy materials that amplify diverse voices and experiences.

Peer-reviewed research is often hard to digest. We selected podcasts, influential organizations, online readings, including newspapers/blogs, government and nongovernmental reports, and statistics. Choosing shorter and more familiar resources (like TedTalks) allowed us to build guides that resonate with the entire community.

So far, we have curated several guides designed to help the Lynn University community become information-savvy global citizens. We have many more on the way, including guides on #HumanTraffickingPrevention, #BlackHistoryMonth, and #WomensHistoryMonth.

“Be a Global Citizen” Events, Outreach, and Exhibitions

Pre-pandemic, we usually had, on average, one lecture series per month and weekly programming (about three-to-four per semester). We were determined to build a series of events around human rights and global citizenship. We decided to combine three lectures into one week to streamline marketing materials, providing better publicity and coverage to the Lynn University community. Collaboration with other departments and initiatives was crucial for ensuring the week’s success. All lectures were recorded and made available to the community in our institutional repository, SPIRAL.

We obtained a traveling exhibition to coincide with the “Be a Global Citizen:” Human Rights Lecture series week. We collaborated with the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, for a traveling exhibition, Witness to History: The Holocaust Remembered by Florida Survivors, to coincide with the lecture series.

Lecture series included:

Banners from the Witness to History banner

Faculty Book Discussions

As part of our annual faculty training, we selected four books to discuss: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo and Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson, and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

With Lynn’s teaching excellence committee’s help, we scheduled three meetings on Zoom on various days and at times to provide access for all the faculty that wanted to take part. Every discussion was unique as there were different participants, each bringing their world view and background. The faculty took this seriously.

While Stacy Alesi, Information Desk Librarian, facilitated the discussions by asking a few questions once they got going, the discussion took on a life of its own. The most fruitful discussions included faculty working together to figure out how to include these difficult topics in their varied curriculum.

Collaborations are Impactful

Student Affairs staff reached out to us after the #BLM guide was published and wanted to expand our focus and share our resources related to their monthly themes. We used the #BLM guide as a template to tailor it specifically to specific social justice programming for students planned by the Center of Student Involvement for students. The guides are being promoted via social media for Lynn Student Affairs and Lynn University Library. The guide is referenced as an additional resource during their monthly discussions.

Currently, we are continuing our human rights lecture series in the spring during National Library Week. Next semester, we will join forces with the Social Impact Lab, Student Involvement, Project Civitas, and the film department to bring weekly programming around the same themes. Every Friday, there is a singular focus on the three different areas: books, films, and social justice discussions. In the final week, students receive an opportunity to put into action what they have learned by volunteering for an organization facilitated by the Center for Student Involvement. Collaborations strengthened our messaging and helped us discuss race and social justice with the Lynn University community.