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The #LibrariesResist Movement

by on February 28, 2017

“If Park Rangers can do it, so can Librarians!” “Radical militant librarian; defending freedom, defending access, defending privacy.” Those quotes, found on the @LibrariesResist Twitter account, are the short version of the story.

The handful of people behind that Twitter account are librarians who have created a substantive #LibrariesResist Resource List.[1] The list provides information professionals with tools to help communities that are most affected by recent political changes. It was created by activists who are volunteering their time because they are passionate about these issues. The list can be found at bit.ly/LibrariesResist, it’s creators welcome any help in expanding the guide. Despite being a work in progress, it is impressive in its breadth and depth, including the prefatory “General Information about Activism, Calls to Action, and Understanding the U.S. Government.” To date, the Resource List has logged more than 2,000 direct hits and has been directly linked from multiple sites.[2]

The “Library Programs, Displays, Exhibits” section of the Resource List has a scholarly and somewhat theoretical bent. For additional  ideas for displays and programs, check out Kelly Jensen’s photographic essay on Bookriot.[3] From the most basic of displays to a professional caliber traveling exhibit, this collection represents an enormous spectrum and is sure to inspire you.

LibrariesResist began its public life on social media. It has active Twitter and Facebook accounts that garnered 1,000 followers within the first week and both continue to offer timely content. On February 11, for example, in the context of reports of ICE raids, LibrariesResist Facebook posted the ACLU’s tip sheet in English and Spanish on what to do if ICE agents come to your door.

Image Courtesy of Rebecca McCorkindale

The broader concept of resistance in libraries was covered in a PBS article on February 13. It alludes to a renewed interest in the role of libraries in our time of “alternative facts” and shares significant library resistance news. It leads off with inclusive library graphics by Rebecca McCorkindale, summarizing the moves by the Trump administration that have encouraged librarians to mobilize, and talks about the issues surrounding libraries and the role of #LibrariesResist.[4]

The #LibrariesResist movement allows you to be involved in activism in the way that best suits you. If you are looking to get involved, the following are some practical steps to consider:

  1. Become familiar with the #LibrariesResist Resource List so you know what’s readily available.
  2. Follow #LibrariesResist on Facebook and/or Twitter.
  3. Utilize Rebecca McCorkindale’s graphics to let your community know that you serve everyone.
  4. Create a display or program that features diversity and inclusion.
  5. Provide fact-checking how-to info on handouts or your website.



[1] “#LibrariesResist Resource List,” #LibrariesResist Resource List, accessed February 14, 2017, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1g79sSAlP03rdiVHraeb9PFlhbL_5ZLVFFRYiOqhZs_w/pub.

[2] Matthew Haugen in email interview with the author, February 2017.

[3] Kelly Jensen, “Libraries Resist: A Round-Up of Tolerance, Social Justice, & Resistance in US Libraries,” BOOK RIOT, February 10, 2017, accessed February 14, 2017, http://bookriot.com/2017/02/10/libraries-resist-round-tolerance-social-justice-resistance-us-libraries/.

[4] Elizabeth Flock, “Why these librarians are protesting Trump’s executive orders,” PBS, February 14, 2017, accessed February 14, 2017, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/librarians-protesting-trumps-executive-orders/.

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