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Safe, Welcome, and Respected: Social Injustice in Our Libraries and Communities

Monday, June 15, 2020

“Wisconsin public libraries are places where everyone should be safe, welcomed, and respected” is a core value of the Inclusive Services Statement, an interpretation of Wis. Stat. sec. 43.24(2)(k). Right now, amidst this period of turbulence and activism, it is difficult to imagine libraries being safe, welcoming, and respectful when so many have been hurt, unwelcomed, and disrespected by our society. Now is the time to take action, on every level, to move this philosophy into practice.

The Division for Libraries & Technology extends our support to the library community during this charged and uncertain time. To borrow from #LibrariesRespond: “Many people are feeling helpless, but there are many ways we can center the voices and experiences of Black library workers, the Black community, support the broader Black Lives Matter movement, fight against police violence, and help the cause of racial justice.”

It is not the responsibility of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to educate others on racial injustice. To learn more--for yourself, your library board, or your library staff--please see the living document of Race and Antiracism Resources for Wisconsin Public Libraries. This list includes online courses, upcoming events, and more.

When we know better, we do better. Consider how you can play a role in taking action to make your library and community more inclusive. From the Inclusive Services Statement: “When libraries honor the full diversity of their communities, communities thrive. Fundamentally, inclusive library services should be developed locally with and for all community members...Our common goal is to improve life and learning opportunities for all Wisconsin residents.”

Written by:
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt
Public Library Development Team

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For questions about this information, contact Tessa Michaelson Schmidt (608) 267-5077