HSLI Newsletter


Serving Illinois Health Information Professionals

Illinois Library Association Releases “From Statements to Action: ILA Condemns Racism and Violence”

(via the Illinois Library Association)

June 4, 2020

Today, we are called to address current events–specifically, to condemn the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers, and Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of self-appointed white vigilantes. These may be well beyond the scope of librarians to solve, but we address them nonetheless. For one thing, they are the ultimate expression of a set of conditions that allow such abuses to happen repeatedly. It feels overwhelming, and to the members of our community directly impacted, beyond overwhelming to exhausting and terrifying. But we aren’t helpless: It is incumbent upon us to consider these conditions in our sphere of influence–librarianship.

There is a persistent lack of diversity in librarianship; our ranks remain approximately 85% white, despite years of well-meaning scholarships and programming. The ILA strategic plan identifies one of our core values as “Diversity and equity of opportunity”, along with “Energizing, visionary leadership” and “Adaptation to change”, among others. 

. . .

The ILA Executive Board will draft a plan of action to build on the steps we have taken so far, at our upcoming June 11, 2020 meeting that may include future financial support, a moderated discussion series, continuing to feature speakers and content on these topics, curating a set of the many resources available, and other ideas. As an association, as leaders within the library community, as human beings, we are committed to further concrete action in the fight against racism.

In the meantime, here are five things librarians can do right now:

1) Recommit to promoting the importance of the Census in your community, particularly among hard to count populations

2) Make plans to encourage voter registration via your programming, in advance of the fall 2020 elections

3) Identify and reach out to one (or one new) antiracist organization in your community to offer partnership and support

4) Read one of the articles on this list, or one like it

5) Promote the titles and resources in your collection that address inclusion, equity, and antiracism via book lists or book talks, as the Evanston Public Library has done

To read the full statement, please go here.

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