Friday, July 24, 2020

Three Anti-Racist Actions YOU Can Take in Your library RIGHT NOW!

"Anti-racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably." - NAC International Perspectives: Women and Global Solidarity

Here are three Anti-racist actions you can take today in your library:

Give your library policies an anti-racist audit.

Form a group from different stakeholders at your library.  

Recruit individuals from the administration of your organization, your union and your HR department--if possible.

Pick a simple policy, practice or procedure to analyze.

Notify any stakeholders who might not be included yet about your intent to audit the policy, practice or procedure.  

Crowdsource your analysis on a zoom whiteboard, or Google Doc, or something that makes collaboration easier. 

Present your findings to the group who owns said policy, practice or procedure.  

Ask for feedback from them on your groups suggestions for anti-racist improvements.

If the analysis is accepted and implemented, ask for a report on the impact these changes have made.

Present this information to your library administration with an executive summary.

Appoint people from marginalized communities to positions in your library.

If you are a hiring manager, find out what it takes to appoint people to positions under your domain.

Form a group from different stakeholders at your library.  

Recruit individuals from the administration of your organization and HR if possible.

Do an analysis of your department's ethnic makeup.

Find qualified candidates for appointment by getting in touch with BCALA, APALA, REFORMA, AILA, CALA, ALA Spectrum and Library Schools.

Work with community organizations to get interns and students from underrepresented groups to come work in your library.  

Provide support in the form of mentorships, affinity groups and antiracism groups--to begin with.

Define racist and other forms of bigotry outside of 'free speech.'

Many racists like to hide behind the veil of free speech, but racist speech and other forms of harassment are not free speech.  

Come up with a policy that bans racist forms of harassment by explicitly defining actions and words that are racist as such.  

For example, if someone is sending out emails to their organization, or simply individuals in their organization questioning if racism exists should be defined as explicit racist behavior.

Don't assume it is a question of free speech right off the bat.  We have restrictions on our behavior, language and other aspects of our lives while at work.

Racist behavior should not be treated as a special kind of offense--it is an egregious offense and their should be dire consequences.  Racism impacts productivity, 

Use these tactics to create an anti-oppression atmosphere for other marginalized and oppressed groups.

I know that this is a fourth action, but hey--it is necessary.

This is a blog post and is not meant to be comprehensive.  However, I would like comments so I can sharpen my suggestions with your practical insights and constructive criticism.  


My goal is to crowdsource practical ways to implement antiracism policy analysis and antiracism in general into US libraries.  

The time is past for EDI!

We need to work on Anti-oppression and 
Be actively anti-racist!  

Change doesn't happen on it's own, or just by waiting for it to happen.

We can all take active steps toward building the libraries and world we want!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Solid briefing.
I believe your piece hits some key factors / contributors in racial-bias tension building & breeding. A proactive approach.

I would have liked to seen brief reminders covering additional inclusion steps (i.e diversity in library / language collections). Pairing traditional library practices with the covered steps would provide a hefty package.

Another tactic, borrowed from corporate-america's branding, is trying to capture community's diversity and cooperation through images and participation and projecting that outward - internally and externally -- in front of the circulation desk, as well as behind it.

Your proactive approached married with conscious reaffirmation.