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ALA responds to racial profiling in libraries following two incidents

The American Library Association (ALA) has released a statement affirming its commitment to ‘providing library professionals with resources that support equity, diversity, and inclusion’, following two incidents involving library staff and patrons of colour.

‘As librarians and library workers, our core values fuel our efforts to be inclusive and sensitive to cultures other than our own,’ wrote ALA president Loida Garcia-Febo. ‘However, applying the nuances of equity, diversity, and inclusion to library service may pose a challenge for some.’

Garcia-Febo reminded ALA members of the professional resources available to help identify and quash racial profiling and microaggressions, as well as resources offering best practices to deal with racial incidents.

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) also responded by condemning the unnecessary policing of people of colour and other marginalised groups, calling on the leadership of ALA, library and information science schools, and all libraries to address ‘the campus and organisational culture that allowed for the escalation and involvement of police in these situations’.

The statements come after two recent incidents of racial profiling in North American libraries. Earlier this month, a library employee at West University library in Texas called the police after Ashly Horace, a Houston graduate student studying library science, tried to attend the library’s storytime session to observe it as part of her graduate research. In October, police were called when Juán-Pabló Gonźalez, a black Master of Library and Information Sciences student at Catholic University of America in Washington DC, was trying to use the university’s law library as part of his studies.

 

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Category: Library news International