Statement of Values & Code of Conduct

Effective starting 14 May 2018. Last updated 10 February 2022.

Rare Book School’s Statement of Values

Rare Book School (RBS) is committed to fostering an inclusive, respectful, and welcoming environment that embraces a richly diverse representation of human attributes, perspectives, and disciplines. Diversity enriches our curriculum, and strengthens the intellectual and social life of our School. Inculcating values of scholarly rigor, community, and service, RBS brings together individuals of different backgrounds, cultures, and professions. Our organization equips these individuals to serve a multicultural society. The world of books crosses borders of every kind, be they national, political, linguistic, social, or cultural. We understand that this world in its pluriformity comprehends not only multiple languages, but also a multiplicity of human voices and stories. We therefore encourage and expect participants in the RBS community to work together to create environments where thoughtful and respectful interactions can take place. Every member of the community should strive to contribute to creating an environment in which all those participating in RBS programs feel welcome and valued—an ethos that fosters the intellectual and professional growth of all.

Rare Book School’s Code of Conduct

Rare Book School is dedicated to providing educational experiences that are inclusive, respectful, and welcoming, whether they take place in person or online. We ask that you please help us achieve this goal by: refraining from all forms of harassment and offensive conduct; listening as much as you speak; remembering that colleagues may have expertise of which you are unaware; accepting critique graciously and offering it constructively; giving credit where it is due; and staying alert to the comfort, safety, and welfare of those around you.

The Rare Book School community operates in person and in synchronous and asynchronous online environments, including videoconferencing spaces and on social media. To foster a community that welcomes all, it is essential for everyone to understand and thoughtfully consider the range of behaviors that may constitute harassment or offensive conduct. Such behaviors may include unwelcome or offensive verbal comments, anecdotes, or nonverbal expressions related to: age; appearance or body size; employment or military status; ethnicity; gender identity or expression; individual lifestyles; marital status; national origin; physical or cognitive ability; political affiliation; sexual orientation; race; caste; or religion. Unacceptable behaviors in community spaces also include the use of sexual, discriminatory, or otherwise offensive images; deliberate intimidation; stalking; following; unwanted photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; bullying or exploitative behavior; inappropriate physical contact; and unwelcome sexual attention.

Given the additional challenges of conveying affect and nonverbal cues online, community members should strive to communicate conscientiously and with extra care when in virtual spaces. Online interaction in particular can introduce illusions of anonymity or distance, so community members should remember that behavior that would be inappropriate in person is also inappropriate online.

The use of sexual, discriminatory, or otherwise offensive language and/or imagery is generally inappropriate at RBS events. However, this policy is not intended to constrain responsible discourse and debate. RBS courses may involve the examination of historical materials with controversial, sexual, discriminatory, or otherwise offensive content. In such situations, RBS participants should strive to engage with these difficult topics and materials in a respectful and careful manner that provides appropriate context for their historical interpretation.

Reporting Protocols

The staff at Rare Book School are charged with maintaining the safety and security of all while fostering in-person and online environments that are conducive to the intellectual and professional development of every member of our community. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other related concerns, please contact a member of the RBS staff at your earliest opportunity. RBS staff may assist participants by providing constructive intervention and support, contacting security or local law enforcement when necessary, and otherwise helping address inappropriate behavior.

You may also contact RBS administrative staff members by emailing, or writing to the RBS Executive Director ( However, if you or others are in imminent danger, you should call emergency services at 911. Please also refer to any additional policies and resources of local hosts and institutions.

Participants at any in-person or online RBS event who are asked to stop harassing or intimidating behaviors are expected to comply immediately. It is a privilege to be part of the Rare Book School community; those who abuse that privilege by violating our code of conduct may be warned, sanctioned, blocked from online forums, removed from in-person events, or expelled at the discretion of RBS staff.

RBS staff will determine an appropriate response to a reported violation of this Code of Conduct. All reports and inquiries will be handled with care, sensitivity, and discretion.
We thank you for your thoughtful attention to the wellbeing and safety of all members of the Rare Book School community.

Recognizing a Grave and Egregious Pattern; Committing Ourselves to the Work Ahead

We at Rare Book School deplore racism and discrimination in all its forms. Without reservation, we condemn the lethal ignorance and hatred that animates racism and the injustices that come from it. We recognize the loss of Black lives at the hands of law enforcement as among the most grave and egregious of the patterns of systemic racism in our time. No human being should be deprived of the most fundamental of human rights, the right to live. We abhor violence against people of color in all its forms, and we mourn those who have died while struggling for racial justice. The killing of innocent people for any reason, whether on account of their race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or religion, contravenes our fundamental values as an educational organization, as citizens of a modern democracy, and as members of the human family. We stand in solidarity with all people who are striving to make a world of racial equality and justice.

Discrimination and racial inequity likewise plague our professional lives. Rare Book School pledges to continue to seek redress for the gross disparities of access, employment, and representation that have long prevailed in our cultural heritage collections and professional circles. To build a better future, we must learn not only to read the signs of our own time, but also to understand and speak courageously about our past. From libraries and archives to classrooms and lecture halls, we will continue to strive to empower and support those who create, preserve, protect, study, and disseminate the multicultural stories of our world, including the stories of our valued communities of color. Obviously, there is much work to be done, and we at Rare Book School are committed to the ongoing labor of putting our principles into action, to help bring into being a society that is more equitable for all.


Portions of this document have been based on the DLF Code of Conduct. It has been made available under a CC-BY-NC 4.0 license; please feel free to adapt and re-use it.