But Aren't Libraries Neutral?
Some will ask, Why should libraries take this stand? Some librarians pride themselves on being “neutral.” We respond: Equity is a library core value. Civic engagement is a core library value. Intellectual freedom is a core library value. Democracy is a core library value. Yet, marginalization in all forms -- and racism in particular -- disrupts and limits equity, civic participation, and freedom. It deforms democracy. If we are to fulfill our mission and uphold library values then we must be advocates against marginalization and inequity, and for justice and equity.
Further, if we uphold intellectual freedom then we must also uphold freedom itself. As library workers, we must, then, grapple with the forces stripping communities of personal, religious and collective freedom. This means making a proper diagnosis of the root causes and effects of oppression in society. This means that our commitment to transform communities is a commitment to transforming the power imbalances that disfigure democracy and threaten those communities.
As information advocates in a civil society, our institutions cannot be and have never been spaces of neutrality. What libraries offer our communities, and will continue to offer our communities, are spaces to learn, debate, listen and engage. We advance a public commons for inquiry, empowerment and freedom.
— Amy Sonnie, #Libraries4BlackLives
Quotes we love (Books and Articles Coming Soon):
“If librarians are to engage in our social responsibilities, we not only need to be aware and to understand today’s social problems and the direction in which they are headed, but we must also develop our capacities to creatively conspire with our communities to change the way we live.” — Elaine Harger
"Neutrality can obfuscate injustices and the possibilities for active contributions. Often, neutrality is not a defense of the controversial, but rather an avoidance of it." — Pat Schuman