From Bystanders to Change Agents: Respect, Now, Always and the Library as a Platform for Change

Since its inception in 2017, the UTS Respect, Now, Always (RNA) program has sought to create a distinctive community of ethical bystanders who seek to promote respectful and inclusive behaviour. Recognising the Library as both a safe space and a catalyst for change, the program partnered with the Library on a number of initiatives that has shed new light and provided new insights on what community expectations are of safe spaces, how the community interacts with these spaces and the important role of the Library in supporting the University’s strategic ambitions.

The presentation will provide an overview of the program, the connections to the Library and provide a number of case studies (not all successful) where the partnership dared to explore new territory, challenge existing thinking and raise the profile of the University as a place that is distinctive for its commitment to ensuring that respect and inclusion remain core to its values. The presentation will also explore the cultural work that is never finished and the challenges that the Library has had in its own journey through a sometimes difficult landscape. Challenges that have brought changes to the way the Library manages its workforce, delivers its services, delivers its collections, designs its spaces and most importantly the way the University sees its Library not just as a provider of ‘books’ but as a platform for strategic change and discourse.

Michael Gonzalez

University Library, University of Technology Sydney

Author Bio

Michael has approx. 20 years’ experience working in Libraries in Australia. Currently at the University of Technology Sydney, Michael is responsible for a range of digital and physical services that position the Library at the centre of the UTS experience which includes the award-winning Blake Library.

Catharine Pruscino

RNA Program Manager, University of Technology Sydney

Author Bio

Catharine has more than 20 years’ experience working across the public and private sectors, as well as NFP policy think tanks and research centres. She is currently a member of Universities Australia’s Expert Advisory Group for national sexual violence primary prevention campaign in universities.