William Paterson University’s David and Lorraine Cheng Library Receives National Award for Excellence in Access and Diversity

Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine recognizes academic libraries that are making a difference for all underrepresented groups

David and Lorraine Cheng Library

The David and Lorraine Cheng Library at William Paterson University in Wayne has received the 2024 Library Excellence in Access and Diversity (LEAD) Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education.

The LEAD Award honors academic libraries’ programs and initiatives that encourage and support diversity, equity, and inclusion across their campus. These include, but are not limited to, research, technology, accessibility, exhibitions, and community outreach. William Paterson University was the only institution in New Jersey whose library was honored and it will be featured, along with 55 other recipients, in the March 2024 issue of Insight Into Diversity magazine.

“In an increasingly globalized world, it is imperative that institutions of higher learning and the libraries that serve them be more sensitive to the need for diversity and inclusivity not just as a matter of good strategy, but because it is also the right and fair thing to do,” says Edward Owusu-Ansah, dean of the Cheng Library. “This LEAD Award reinforces our intentional efforts to serve our underrepresented minority students and demonstrates to all the importance we attach to diversity and inclusivity at our institution.”

“We know that many academic libraries are not always recognized for their dedication to diversity, inclusion, and access,” says Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of Insight Into Diversity magazine. “We are proud to honor these college and university libraries as role models for other institutions of higher education.”

Insight Into Diversity magazine selected William Paterson University’s Cheng Library based on its active participation in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives on campus. The library is fully wheelchair accessible in all areas, floors, and rooms, including its highly used auditorium. It provides dedicated work and study spaces with ADA-compliant adaptive technologies, and all terminals for patron use are equipped with speech recognition, text magnification, and screen reading software.

Committed to ensuring access and services for all patrons regardless of their abilities, the library has been intentional in ensuring that its collections are diverse, support all users, and its services support differently abled patrons in their information- and knowledge-seeking activities and their access to, use of, and creation of knowledge both within and outside its walls. Web resources are designed with accessibility in mind and patrons are empowered to contribute towards improved services through regular usability testing. 

In support of the University’s status as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and Minority-Serving Institution with a majority minority student population, the library has worked to build and expand its collection to include works by authors and scholars from underrepresented minority groups, as well as support all faculty teaching and research.

In addition, it has spearheaded the Real Men Read program, designed to foster the love of reading in boys from underrepresented minority communities. The program, which provides University faculty and staff volunteer readers to K-6 schools in the community and beyond, currently reaches more than 1,400 children each year.

For more information about the 2024 Library Excellence in Access and Diversity (LEAD) Award, visit insightintodiversity.com.