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The E&H Library and libraries across the nation; information for all, equality for all.

by Adam Alley on 2020-06-20T11:38:56-04:00 | Comments


“Saying Black Lives Matter is not a bad thing. Demonstrating it is all the better.” 
-Stacy Collins, Boston Librarian

As a new librarian, having recently finished my graduate studies, there was of the utmost importance a mission, statement, vision, goal, objective, idea, whatever you want to call it, that professors, librarians, and instructors worked continuously to ingrain in each student, semester after semester, in lectures, in assignments and projects, in the course readings, that today...in light of recent weeks, I simply cannot stop thinking about, the image that the library should represent:

 

  • The library is supposed to be a place of equality.
  • The library is supposed to be a place open to everyone, regardless of age, sex, culture, gender, race, nationality, etc. 
  • The library is supposed to be a place open to all types of beliefs, information, ideas, creations, etc. 
  • The library should not support, condone, or tolerate any “information”, ideas, speech, etc. that is/represents/supports/condones hate speech, violence, and the unfair, unjust abuse and mistreatment of any person. 


And the librarian’s role?:

 

  • The librarian is charged with ensuring their patrons, users, and communities receive equal treatment, services, access.
  • The librarian treats everyone with equality, making sure that each library user receives the same opportunity to access and use the library's services, resources, and collections.
  • While the librarian strives to provide collections that offer a diverse selection of knowledge and also strives to maintain that their own bias and beliefs should not influence, skew, or interfere with library users ability to learn, explore, discover, use and access library resources, the librarian WILL NOT tolerate, support, endorse, or include any forms of hate speech, violence, or the inappropriate, inhumane, unequal treatment of individuals, groups, communities, races, cultures, etc. in the library’s collection nor in the actions and behaviors from their patrons, their fellow colleagues, and their selves.

 

When asked in an interview with NPR about her feelings concerning the response of other libraries and the American Library Association (ALA) concerning the Black Lives Matter movement, librarian Stacey Collins (2020) offered the following response:

“I think statements are an important step. They don't always have to be the first, but for many libraries they are. We have a lot of folks that are very, very nervous. Where libraries are, by their nature, risk-averse when at all possible to make sure that we stay open and valuable for our communities, and so we don't like to risk something that would inflate controversy, but this is not one of those moments. Saying Black Lives Matter is not a bad thing. Demonstrating it is all the better. So, yes, I'd like to see more, and I'm hopeful that there are next steps coming in those directions.”

Echoed in her words is a comforting vision that has so far continued to hold true of the many businesses, institutions, and individuals of our society as they publicly have announced their solidarity with the Black and Brown communities, their desire to help, and their love for their fellow human beings. There is also an underlying fear that has been expressed by many in the last few weeks, that these declarations of solidarity, of equality are only that...declarations, empty words that operate for no other purpose but to strike a temporary chord, fueling a fire of change that might fizzle out before truly getting the opportunity to burn because no one is willing to act beyond the words they have so generously provided, no one is willing to demonstrate that they really mean what they say. While a well-written message can speak volumes, our actions can have a greater impact still. It is our actions that Collin's sees as a necessity to ensuring our governments, our communities, our friends, families, and neighbors work together to recognize the injustices faced by these marginalized societies. It is our actions that will continue to swell the tide, it is our actions that will help reshape our country into one that respects all people, that protects all people, that treat each other with equality and love. 

Last week, Emory & Henry’s President John Wells and John Holloway, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion released a college-wide statement establishing that the Campus at Emory & Henry will stand “in solidarity” with the Black and Brown communities and will do their part making sure the E&H Campus, including its faculty, staff, and all other members of the community, are actively working towards a college that represents an environment, an atmosphere, and a place of inclusion, equality, respect, and love - the very requirements if we wish to truly Increase in Excellence (Wells & Holloway, 2020): 

The demonstrations of the last week illustrate the broad desire for a society that genuinely protects and respects the lives of all of its members.  In solidarity with that goal, Emory & Henry College and its Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion stand with those who reject systemic racism, prejudice of any type, and state sanctioned violence.  We insist that we, as a nation, take seriously our written creed to champion the notion that all are created equal.  When we honor the declaration that black lives matter, we are making manifest the noblest impulses of the American constitutional philosophy.

Since releasing this statement the employees of this institution, along with its students, have been coming together, working together, learning, crying, talking, listening together to educate each other, learn from each other; sharing experiences, providing support, and voicing their concerns. The campus community has already begun to work together, realizing just as Stacey Collin has, that to make a difference on campus, across the country, and around the world, we all have to come together and act. Actions truly do speak louder than words and Emory & Henry has begun to prove it is not afraid to get loud. 

In support of the College, but more importantly in support of the Black and Brown communities and the equality that they are fighting for and with the hopes that the information provided below helps to produce more positive action throughout our college community, the Library Staff wanted to provide a few links to resources the library has available and also provide a few links that cover additional information and resources about the BlackLivesMatter movement, how to show your support, and how to get involved (This list is not exhaustive and I encourage you to perform your own additional research into this movement outside of the words you have seen here). Because we are in a time where “fake news”, corrupt “facts”, and misinformation has, can, and will spread like wildfire if it gets the chance, I will also provide a few very useful links to instructional Youtube videos that discuss how you can evaluate online resources, making sure that the sources/websites you visit are reliable, current, accurate, and unbiased (or how to tell if a resource is biased and locate that bias within those sources). 

 

The Library has a new guide created by VP John Holloway, Travis Profitt, & Ruth Castillo; check it out here!

Online resources & websites:

ACLU.com

BlackLivesMatter

Color of Change

Equal Justice Initiative

NAACP Legal defense fund

 

For another, more extensive, list of resources/websites, the magazine publication BackStage offers a longer list here, while I am sure there are many more lists available than this. 

In their letter to the college, President John Wells and Vice President John Holloway shared an extensive list of extremely useful resources

 

Things to remember:

Like any research, always make sure you evaluate the resources, sources, items, materials, and websites that you use. Please, check out the following videos on evaluating resources so that you know how to tell what a credible source looks like, etc.

OSLIS Secondary Videos. (13 July, 2016). Evaluating websites. [Youtube video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxyKHp47EnQ

Spencer, J. (6 December, 2016). Helping students identify fake news with the five C’s of critical consuming. [Youtube video] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xf8mjbVRqao


please share,

______#BlackLivesMatter_______

 

References

Collins, Stacey [Interview]. (13th June, 2020). How libraries are supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.  Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2020/06/13/876521968/how-libraries-are-supporting-the-black-lives-matter-movement

Wells, J. & Holloway, J. (2020). 

 


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