Mid-Columbia Libraries (MCL) has joined the more than 170 public libraries across North America in adopting the Urban Libraries Council’s (ULC) Statement on Race and Social Equity. “Racism and intolerance has no place in the library,” says Executive Director and Chief Librarian Kyle Cox. “The ULC statement reflects the ethics of the librarian profession, and adopting it is an important first step in our journey to being a more inclusive organization.”
At its meeting June 16, the MCL Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt the ULC statement, which asserts that “libraries can help achieve true and sustained equity through an intentional, systemic and transformative library-community partnership.” Libraries use this statement as a baseline for building progressive policies, activities and collaborative relationships to advance equity. MCL embraces the importance of listening to the voices of the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) community and building meaningful relationships and partnerships.
“As our libraries work towards reopening in the wake of the pandemic, we are also committed to anti-racism and providing a safe and comfortable place for all members of our community,” says MCL Board of Trustees Chairman Tom Callahan.
Library leaders and staff are committed to making MCL’s 12 branches in Benton, Franklin, and part of Adams counties more inclusive for customers, staff, and community members. MCL condemns all forms of individual and systemic racism, including the senseless deaths of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. MCL stands with the BIPOC community and believes in racial and social equity; the library is taking further actions which support this belief, including:
- creating an equity and social justice statement for MCL;
- prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the library strategic plan;
- prioritizing and funding anti-racist programming and collections;
- forging relationships with and seeking the participation of communities of color; and
- requiring sensitivity training for MCL staff, administrators, and Friends of the Library volunteers.
Now more than ever, the library must be a nurturing and safe space for people to connect, learn, and grow from each other. MCL recognizes that becoming a pillar of racial and social equity takes years of intention and commitment and cannot succeed without the input from the BIPOC community. MCL invites community members and organizations to share their ideas by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.