For immediate release | March 30, 2021

Academic librarians promoting a culture of diversity in higher education

CHICAGO – The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) 2021 Virtual Conference, taking place online from April 13-16, 2021, will showcase how academic and research libraries cultivate more open and inclusive organizations, collections, and services.

ACRL 2021 comes at a time when libraries are working to strengthen their commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. The conference themed Ascending into An Open Future, provides a fantastic opportunity for library workers to explore higher education and library issues. Conference programs will focus on social and racial justice, qualitative data analysis, innovation, problem-solving, instructional collaborations, student success, copyright policies, mentoring, sustainability practices, remote learning, first-generation students, information ethics, and more.

Academic libraries and librarians play a critical role in creating spaces in which diverse and divergent viewpoints can be shared and exchanged and are essential to students' academic achievement. The conference will help library workers think in new and creative ways in instructing and supporting students as not only consumers of information but also as collaborative creators and producers of knowledge.

A 2015 ACRL report entitled "Academic Library Contributions to Student Success: Documented Practices from the Field," found:

  • Students who receive library instruction as part of their courses achieve higher grades and demonstrate better information literacy competencies than students who do not receive course-related library instruction.
  • Library instruction builds students' confidence in the research process.
  • Library instruction contributes to retention and persistence, particularly for students in first-year experience courses and programs.

ACRL 2021 attendees will have access to more than 300 programs showcasing the most current and relevant academic and research librarianship trends. The inclusive conference program will reflect the library community's diverse range of race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, economic background, age, and ability.

Keynote speakers are writer, sociologist, and MacArthur Fellow Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom and data journalist, writer, illustrator, and producer Mona Chalabi. Invited presenters include Kaetrena Davis-Kendrick, Dean of Ida Jane Dacus Library and Louise Pettus Archives & Special Collections at Winthrop University (Rock Hill, S.C.), who will discuss "Creating an Open Vision for 21st-Century Libraries and Archives" along with We Here administrators Jennifer Brown, Jennifer Ferretti, and Charlotte Roh presenting “Systemic Oppression Requires Systemic Change: Recasting the Roles of Academic Libraries in Contemporary Contexts.”

Registration for ACRL2021 is still available and additional information regarding is on the conference website at

If you would like to interview academic library leaders, please contact Macey Morales, deputy director, American Library Association (ALA) Communications and Marketing Office (CMO), at (312) 280-4393 or, or Steve Zalusky, communications specialist, ALA CMO, at (312) 280-1546 or


The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for academic libraries and library workers. Representing more than 9,000 individuals and libraries, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products, and services to help those working in academic and research libraries learn, innovate, and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning, transforming scholarship, and creating diverse and inclusive communities. Find ACRL on the web, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.


David Free

Senior Communications Strategist