Statement from MLA President Amy Boese
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Posted by: Tammy Schoenberg
Part of our work as librarians is making sure that accurate information is available in a timely manner, and access to that information is available to all- including those with no other options, our most marginalized, least heard and least affluent patrons.
In the past few week, the federal government has halted and altered the flow of information from sites we would normally trust. In concordance with the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (see link below) we strongly object to this and any other attempt to hamper resources funded by us, the people of the United States, and to allow only a certain version of research to be heard in any instance.
I have been talking to peers and colleagues and mentors this week. They have had so many smart and reflective thoughts. Panic, although understandable, is not a good strategy for us right now. We need to remember that the rules we follow as information literacy professionals remain. We tell patrons the same thing we always have: "Your brain is your best tool for evaluating resources. Who benefits from you believing this information? Are there other sources, and can you verify the infographic, tweet, article, or news release?" We know that library spaces matter, we are the champions of access to information, and we will continue to do our best work, right now.
Some ways in which we can serve our communities today include the things we always do. Hold storytime with books featuring kids of color. Build community partners to reach non-library users, and teach digital literacy. Host events that give your communities tools for safety, employment, education, and social justice. Provide internet access to those without it. Use your skills to make yourself vital in your community.
Or, post a sign, like these you can purchase or download from Micha Bazant.
Read this response from ALA decrying censorship, and post it widely.
Read this press release from ALA which opposes new administration policies that contradict core values, and post it widely.
Host a data refuge event.
And I know there are more great ideas to come. Want to share? Have a discussion about what libraries mean in Minnesota, in the United States right now? Get together with your peers informally, check the MLA schedule for upcoming events, or feel free contact me or the MLA board anytime.
Amy Boese, President
Minnesota Library Association