In 2015, student groups at campuses across the United States and Canada challenged their college and university administrations to address issues of institutional and systemic racism and other oppressive practices in academe. Much of this student activism occurred on campuses where libraries are members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), which has long held diversity and inclusion as core values embedded in the guiding principles of the Association.
In these tumultuous and transformational times, ARL affirms its commitment to supporting social justice issues within the sphere of racial/ethnic equality and across many other dimensions of human identity and expression. We recognize that libraries hold tremendous responsibility as stewards of the historical, artistic, and scientific record. We commit to marshaling our resources and developing policies that will create safe and welcoming virtual and physical spaces in support of unfettered dialogue and free exchange of ideas. These efforts will advance the collective understanding of these issues and advance progress in meaningful ways. Moreover, we acknowledge the tremendous opportunity that exists for libraries to model exemplary practice in critically examining their role in supporting systemic oppression, and working with the broader academic, research, and civic communities to dismantle those structures that lead to inequality and lack of opportunity in our world.
The Association of Research Libraries is committed to documenting voices of marginalized populations, and to creating and sustaining library and information organizations that not only are diverse and inclusive, but that fully leverage those assets to ensure intellectual and social growth and engagement for all stakeholders.
The following submissions, from ARL member library directors and other staff, highlight what ARL member organizations are doing to support social justice movements, and to contribute in meaningful ways to the advancement of diversity, inclusion, and equality. Please contact Mark A. Puente (firstname.lastname@example.org), ARL’s director of diversity and leadership programs, if you would like to submit an article.