For the last two years, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library at San José State University has actively engaged in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts to address systemic racism and equity issues. The University Library is uniquely positioned to serve both its university community and the local community since it shares its building with the main branch of the San José Public Library. While the university library’s Africana, Asian American, Chicano, & Native American Studies Center has hosted many heritage month events highlighting our campus's and community’s rich culture and diversity, health science and inequities have never been addressed. Therefore, three librarians quickly responded to the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) Region 5 program opportunity "Laboring with Hope" to help improve awareness around Black maternal health disparities. The program allowed academic librarians to collaborate with the public library and the San José State University Public Health and Recreation Department to plan events supporting Black Maternal Health Week (#BMHW23) “Our Bodies Belong to Us: Restoring Black Autonomy and Joy!” (April 11-17, 2023).
This poster will discuss the first Black Maternal Health Week, including planning efforts, events with feedback from attendees, and future initiatives to keep Black maternal health at the forefront of our students' and communities' minds. Through shared programming, more robust collections on black maternal health outcomes, and new relationships with student and community organizations, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library could leverage this experience to become an advocate and agent of change for health inequities among diverse populations.