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Three Things You Can Do to Promote Anti-Racism Efforts In Your Library

Monday, July 13, 2020
  1. Download and use the new Inclusive Services Assessment and Guide with Automatic Scoring
  2. Replay “Advancing Equity & Inclusion In the Workplace Symposium” sessions
  3. Respond to the Call to Action for Public Library Workers to Address Racism

Inclusive Services Assessment with Automatic Scoring
In a recent blog post, readers were asked to consider how you can play a role in taking action to make your library and community more inclusive. The Inclusive Services Assessment and Guide was designed by Wisconsin public library and public library system staff for Wisconsin public library directors, staff, and boards with the intent to foster inclusive library environments where everyone is safe, welcomed, and respected. This resource was developed to support libraries in implementing the Inclusive Services Statement. In addition, this resource intentionally complements the 2018 Wisconsin Public Library Standards.

This tool is now available with automatic scoring to help you assess and score simultaneously. This update is linked on the Inclusive Services webpage as Inclusive Services Assessment with Automatic Scoring. NOTE: Download and save to your device BEFORE you fill in the PDF. "No" is the default response on the scoresheet. The full rubric is on page 27.

Replay “Advancing Equity & Inclusion in the Workplace Symposium” Sessions
Consider viewing one or more of Denver Public Library’s “Advancing Equity & Inclusion in the Workplace Symposium” sessions. The symposium leveraged professional networks across a multitude of fields to dive deeper into particular issues that contribute to success in promoting racial equity & inclusion in the workplace. Symposium themes addressed: Planning and Preparing for Equity Work, Sustaining Equity Efforts and Supporting Staff of Color, and Assessment and Accountability. Recommended replays include:

Call to Action for Public Library Workers to Address Racism
The Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), calls on public library workers to commit to structural change and to taking action to end systemic racism and injustice in a statement that reads:

We call on public library workers to join us in taking the following action steps:

  • Study, amplify, and align with the policy demands of the Movement for Black Lives. Ask yourself: What can the movement’s call to divest from punishment and policing — while investing in long-term safety strategies such as schools, libraries, employment, health, and housing — mean for your library and your community?
  • Change library policies that punish and criminalize patron behavior. Invest in alternatives to policing and security guards within library spaces. See, It’s not enough to say Black Lives Matter.
  • Evaluate the messages about police and policing libraries promote [sic] to children and families in programs and collections. See, Policing Doesn’t Protect Us, and Evaluating Children’s Books about Police.
  • Create a Plan of Action for addressing racism and working toward collective liberation. Start where you are, engage others, and make a long-term commitment to listening, action, and reflection.
  • Address structural racism. Work with BIPOC communities to identify and implement structural changes that must occur within libraries. Build staff investment at every level, while shifting resources to support racial equity initiatives in libraries and staff-led action teams. Evaluate policies and procedures using racial equity tools and develop racial equity action plans to sustain this work.
  • Develop and fund programs, services, and collections that center the voices and experiences of people of color and shift power to communities for co-curation and co-creation.
  • Materially support organizations that provide resources and build community for BIPOC working in libraries, including We Here, the Spectrum Scholarship Program, BCALA, and JCLC.

Written by:
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt

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