It has been a tumultuous week for all of us who work to create a better future for children through libraries. We know, from the responses to the Unity. Kindness. Peace. booklist shared last week that you are stepping up to support your community in the face of violence witnessed or enacted, and in response to fear, trauma, and confusion. And we know that we as librarians, and as ALSC, have much more to do. Our work as an organization must firmly defend the rights of all children and forge paths to equity for marginalized communities.
ALA Responses to Date
Yesterday, ALA President Julie Todaro released the following statement on Libraries, the Association, Diversity and Inclusion:
“After a contentious campaign season filled with divisive rhetoric, we are now hearing from our members and in the news media about incidents of bigotry and harassment within our communities. From children acting out in schools to adults participating in violent acts, it is clear that our nation is struggling in the wake of this election.
“During times like these, our nation’s 120,000 public, academic, school and special libraries are invaluable allies inspiring understanding and community healing. Libraries provide a safe place for individuals of all ages and backgrounds and for difficult discussions on social issues. Our nation’s libraries serve all community members, including people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, and the most vulnerable in our communities, offering services and educational resources that transform communities, open minds and promote inclusion and diversity.
“As an association representing these libraries, librarians and library workers, ALA believes that the struggle against racism, prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination is central to our mission. As we have throughout our 140 year-long history, we will continue to support efforts to abolish intolerance and cultural invisibility, stand up for all the members of the communities we serve, and promote understanding and inclusion through our work.”
Todaro also released, separately, a statement offering Expertise, Resources, to incoming administration and Congress.
Your ALSC Councilor, Jenna Nemec-Loise, is representing us in Council discussions on actions at the ALA level, and in plans for unity activities at Midwinter in Atlanta, and has invited you to share with her on the ALSC-L electronic discussion list.
Now we open this space for you to share with each other. We hope this can be a generative discussion, and we expect to open an online Community Forum in early December to more fully develop and continue it.
- What are you doing to support your library community?
- What is your library community asking you for?
- How might ALSC help? Is there work your ALSC committee is already doing you can share?
We also invite you to use and share the resources ALSC already provides, whether archived educational content such as the recent webinar Whitewashing, Sexism, and More: Using Book Covers to Start a Conversation with Kids, the Everyday Advocacy website, or work from our partner divisions such as YALSA’s Supporting Youth in the Post 2016 Election Climate wiki.
As we organize to equip each other to work in this new environment, I want to express gratitude for the passion, integrity, and inclusiveness of each of you bring to your daily work, and to each other in partnership.