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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2020

Amelia N. Gibson, Renate L. Chancellor, Nicole A. Cooke, Sarah Park Dahlen, Beth Patin and Yasmeen L. Shorish

The purpose of this article is to provide a follow up to “Libraries on the Frontlines: Neutrality and Social Justice,” which was published here in 2017. It addresses…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to provide a follow up to “Libraries on the Frontlines: Neutrality and Social Justice,” which was published here in 2017. It addresses institutional responses to protests and uprising in the spring and summer of 2020 after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, all of which occurred in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The article expands the previous call for libraries to take a stand for Black lives.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors describe the events of 2020 (a global pandemic, multiple murders of unarmed Black people and the consequent global protests) and responses from within library and information science (LIS), from the perspectives as women of color faculty and library professionals.

Findings

The authors comment on how libraries are responding to current events, as well as the possibilities for panethnic solidarity. The authors also consider specifically how libraries and other institutions are responding to the racial uprisings through statements on social media and call for concrete action to ensure that their organizations and information practices are actively antiracist. In so doing, the authors update the claims and expand the appeals they made in 2017,that Black Lives Matter and that librarianship must not remain neutral.

Originality/value

This paper addresses recent institutional and governmental reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial uprisings of spring and summer 2020. It is original, current and timely as it interrogates ongoing events in a LIS context.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 40 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 20 November 2017

Amelia N. Gibson, Renate L. Chancellor, Nicole A. Cooke, Sarah Park Dahlen, Shari A. Lee and Yasmeen L. Shorish

The purpose of this paper is to examine libraries’ responsibility to engage with and support communities of color as they challenge systemic racism, engage in the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine libraries’ responsibility to engage with and support communities of color as they challenge systemic racism, engage in the political process, and exercise their right to free speech. Many libraries have ignored the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, citing the need to maintain neutrality. Despite extensive scholarship questioning the validity of this concept, the framing of library neutrality as nonpartisanship continues. This paper examines librarianship’s engagement with, and disengagement from black communities through the lens of the BLM movement. It also explores the implications of education, engagement, and activism for people of color and libraries today.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors have engaged the topic from a critical race perspective as a practice in exercising voice – telling stories, presenting counterstories, and practicing advocacy (Ladson-Billings, 1998).

Findings

The assertion that libraries have been socially and politically neutral organizations is ahistorical. When libraries decide not to address issues relevant to people of color, they are not embodying neutrality; they are actively electing not to support the information and service needs of a service population. In order for libraries to live up to their core values, they must engage actively with communities, especially when those communities are in crisis.

Originality/value

As a service field, librarianship has an ethos, values, and history that parallel those of many other service fields. This paper has implications for developing understanding of questions about equitable service provision.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 36 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 40 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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