Skip to main content

WVU Libraries receives 2024 Library Excellence in Access and Diversity Award

Diversity Award Logo

Insight Into Diversity magazine has selected WVU Libraries to receive the 2024 Library Excellence in Access and Diversity (LEAD) Award for its programs and initiatives that encourage and support diversity, equity and inclusion across West Virginia University.

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

A few of the efforts that have distinguished WVU Libraries involve exhibitions, community outreach and research.

One that has been especially popular and attracted the most attention is the Inclusive Portrait Project, an initiative by WVU Libraries’ Art in the Libraries program to expand the WVRHC portrait collection through the creation of three portraits painted by a current BFA or MFA student or recent graduate who identifies as female. The project is funded by a Women of WVU grant.

Last spring, the Libraries unveiled a portrait of Virginia “Kittie” Blakemore, the first coach of the WVU’s women’s basketball team.

A central tenet for WVU Libraries and the West Virginia and Regional History Center is the need to not only preserve history, but to also make it freely accessible to the public.

In October 2023, the Libraries and the WVRHC hosted an exhibit to showcase the West Virginia Feminist Activist Collection. Since 2017, the WVRHC has actively collected records and oral histories to document efforts to improve the lives of women in the state and region.

The West Virginia Feminist Activist Collection is a rich collection of materials for scholars, teachers, and students to use for research and learning. It is equally a set of collections that offers inspiration and hope. It serves as a vital record of the history of women and the women making that history.

Also last fall, people from the WVU and local community and beyond filled the Milano Reading Room to celebrate the life and legacy of NASA mathematician and space pioneer Katherine Johnson. At the event, WVRHC Director Lori Hostuttler announced Johnson as the latest addition to the Center’s Distinguished West Virginians Program and officially open Johnson’s archives, which include notebooks, photographs, correspondence, memorabilia, awards and other materials.

WVU Libraries and the WVU Humanities Center regularly collaborate on events to support underrepresented authors. One event introduced a new generation to the late Affrilachian poet Norman Jordan. “Reflections on West Virginian Poet Norman Jordan” featured Brucella Jordan, Norman’s widow, reading his works and talking about his life.

As part of its Appalachian Writer of Color series, the WVU Humanities Center invited AppalAsian poet Lisa Kwong to campus.

WVU Libraries also supports faculty research both inside and outside the library. Currently, this includes a Librarian Faculty member who is working on article about the Black Press in West Virginia for the West Virginia Encyclopedia and an English Professor conducting research on Black students on the WVU campus in the 1960s.

WVU Libraries will be featured, along with 55 other recipients, in the March 2024 issue of Insight Into Diversity magazine.

Insight Into Diversity magazine is the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education today. Insight is the leader in recognizing inclusive excellence in higher education through its prestigious awards. They are also known for being the leader in advancing best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion through their website and print magazine.

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