By Rachel Masilamani, firstname.lastname@example.org. PLA2018 offered several excellent programs related to serving diverse communities, and improving institutional equity and inclusion. As a beneficiary of ALA’s Spectrum Scholarship Program, I have been personally and professionally engaged with these needs in libraries for my entire career. I believe that a crucial component of any public library’s success in […]
Posts Tagged ‘equity’
This winter, Brooklyn Public Library partnered with Bard College to invite students who have faced multiple barriers to higher education to enroll in free, credit-bearing classes taught by Bard faculty at our Central Library. Recently, some of us got a chance to meet the new cohort of seventeen students over lunch. It was the students’ second day of classes. The students were excited or nervous (or both) and were talkative and appreciative of the library and how welcoming it was. They all seemed to share a readiness to jump into reading, discussing, and learning about new ideas, and developing and expanding upon their own. This is a group, like other groups of college students, where lifelong friendships are bound to form.
Building economic opportunities, equity, and inclusion for all also are core values for librarians. Public libraries are particularly well situated to advance equitable economic development as they are a trusted and familiar resource for information and learning of all kinds. Too often, though, local, state and national decisionmakers don’t think of libraries as part of their community assets for supporting entrepreneurs and economic growth. The American Library Association (ALA) is working to change that.
As a result of recent violent events and historical reflection, public libraries are increasing efforts to advance racial equality and provide resources for conversations and greater communication between diverse groups of people and more engagement with local libraries and their programs.