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MLA Statement on Addressing Racism and Discrimination

Saturday, March 9, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Mackenzie Kelley
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The vision of the Minnesota Library Association, as articulated in its 2019 – 2021 Strategic Plan, is to ensure a future where libraries thrive.  Thriving libraries—made possible through the efforts of engaged library workers—help build thriving communities.  MLA recognizes this aspiration for the future cannot truly be achieved without addressing the systemic racism embedded within librarianship and across all types of libraries, as well as inequities related to genderism, ableism, and bias.

Reflecting on the current state of racism in librarianship, and as a state chapter of ALA, MLA urges ALA to carry out the action steps the ALA Executive Board identified in its statement issued on January 31, 2019, and in its February 8, 2019 statement announcing future Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion training providing best practices and cultural competence.  MLA also urges ALA to explore the concept of “white fragility”—a term coined by Robin DiAngelo, who provided the President’s Program at the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting—as it relates to the persistence of inequities experienced by people of color across intersections of identity within librarianship.

Moving forward, the MLA Board commits to addressing racism and discrimination in our profession through the following actions:

  • Review and update the MLA Code of Conduct, and incorporate its ongoing annual review into the Board of Directors calendar

  • Develop and implement an annual training plan for Board members on anti-racism, conflict management and support

  • Encourage libraries to support staff in watching upcoming ALA racial equity trainings

  • Host ongoing dialogue about racism and inequity at key MLA events including the annual conference, PLD Day, ARLD Day, and MILE

Conversations about race and inequity can be challenging.  However, when these conversations don’t happen, the status quo is embraced, and as recent events at the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting have highlighted, the status quo is one where library workers of color experience displays of racism.  With vulnerability and humility, MLA can learn to have these challenging conversations and advance social justice with our profession, our organization, and our individual libraries.

Approved by the MLA Board of Directors

February 2019

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