A colorful patterned sign saying "You Belong" in white text, surrounded by plants.R. David Lankes said great libraries build communities. With this fundamental goal in mind, and in keeping with the core values of librarianship and the university's mission of diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are committed to creating a library community that:

  • Reflects the diverse cultures, religions, races, ethnicities, nationalities, genders, disability statuses, sexual orientations, social classes, and other unique ways in which we differ.
  • Encourages and invites individuals to bring themselves and their voices into our library and become part of our community.
  • Celebrates what we share and promotes respect for individuals and the global community.
  • Instills a sense of belonging and comfort in everyone who visits us or uses the library, both in person and from a distance.

Building A Sense of Belonging

Belonging lies at the heart of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Instilling a sense of belonging—feeling happy, comfortable, welcomed, and accepted—in the people and community we serve is our most crucial mission. Research shows that when students feel a sense of belonging, academic performance climbs, their engagement increases and their overall success improves.[1]

Study spaces and academic environments like the library are critical to this improvement. Some students even say that it's more important to feel welcomed into, and accepted in, their study spaces than their classrooms![2]

The library is the preferred study space for the majority of IUP students,[3] and we want to make sure that every student and every library user feels welcomed, accepted, and comfortable being here. Here's how we do that.

Diverse Collections

Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion extends to the diversity of our library collections. We recognize that academic libraries must respect all voices, especially those that are historically and currently marginalized. Our mission to support the free exchange of ideas, learning, and scholarship hinges on our responsibility to be aware of and reflect on the information we collect, the voices we choose to elevate, and those that we do not. 


We provide a broad and diverse range of print and digital resources built to support academic goals and personal discovery. Our collections are built with goals of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in mind. Our collections include:

  • Scholarly and academic sources, including books, journals, and digital materials.
  • Unique collections such as the Schafer popular reading collection and our graphic novel collections.
  • Unique and fascinating archival materials, collections, and artifacts.

We are aware of the high cost of course materials such as textbooks and work to build affordable learning collections to support students who may be unable to afford course materials. Grants such as the PA GOAL grant for electronic course materials, or the Act 101 Textbook Lending Program, help us support open and affordable learning for all our students, ensuring that they have the materials they need for academic success.


Our array of library services helps students and other members of the library community access and use the many resources we collect. Services are where the "rubber meets the road" in libraries, and our goal is for our library users to feel comfortable asking us for help and taking advantage of our service array. Our services include:

  • Residential delivery, the Get It service, and Interlibrary Loan help us deliver books and other resources to all individuals equally, including those who cannot get to the library, require assistance due to disability, or otherwise need remote delivery of library resources.
  • Physical facilities and support for individuals with disabilities, including accessible restrooms, elevators, study spaces, and barrier-free routes.
  • In-person and virtual reference and research support through our Information Desk, Ask a Librarian service, and librarian reference chat, providing equal access to librarian and library staff support to all library users.


Some of our greatest assets in building community and belonging at IUP Libraries are our library spaces. We understand that students and other library users have widely varied needs and desires when it comes to study, collaboration, and academic support spaces, and we work diligently to create an environment that welcomes and meets these many needs. Our library community spaces include:

  • Group, individual, and private study spaces including individual study rooms supporting both quiet and silent study.
  • Different "zones" in the library to support group and collaborative work as well as quiet individual study.
  • Muslim Prayer Room
  • Lactation Room
  • Children's Reading Area
  • Graduate Student Resource Room

We also maintain an ongoing program of artwork, displays, and events to represent and celebrate multiple cultures, recognize marginalized groups, and enrich the lives of those who use the library. Some of our recent displays and events include:

  • Black History Month display
  • Dia de los Muertos display
  • LGBT(QIA) History Month display
  • Women's History Month display
  • DEI discussion and presentations series
  • "The Right to an Education" Panel Discussion
  • Banned Books Week Events


Finally, we collaborate closely with offices and organizations across the university to continue to support our collective mission of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. The library's collaborative partners include:

[1] Strayhorn, T.L. (2019) College students’ sense of belonging: A key to education success for all students (2nd ed). Routledge.

[2] Broughton, K.M. (2019) Belonging, intentionality, and study space for minority and underprivileged students [Paper presentation]. Association of College and Research Libraries Conference, Cleveland.

[3] Student Technology Satisfaction Survey, Spring 2022. IUP Academic Computing Policy Advisory Committee (ACPAC).