Comments by Commenter

  • Amanda Echterling

    • I would like to see a little more accountability in this section. ALA, ARL, and ACRL have done more than espoused commitments. Whole initiatives, complete with larger institutional funding, have been and some are ongoing. Indeed, for member-supported organizations like ACRL and ALA, those funded initatives sometimes aren’t even located in libraries but in professional development. The third sentence which starts to answer why have we not seen greater success immediately pivots to the smaller institutions, the libraries being too different.

    • We know at the larger institution level there is work to do and that should be acknowledged.”ALA’s ability to mandate” is a poor choice of words here. Earlier in the document, libraries were encouraged to use collaborative decision-making models and that language should be reflected in how the larger institutions see themselves connecting.
      In lieu of “however, there are other ways” – that isn’t descriptive language for a framework – since larger institutions are more than espousing but also programming and funding DEI initiatives, it would be good to see in this section how they have enaged or are engaging iterations of interrogation, accountability and implementation.

    • This paragraph relative to the sub heading of 4.2 seems muddled to me. The sub heading seems to be a call of action to members. But the call to action starts with wedging the organization from the actor. And then associates the actor with “community” and we lose any tie back to member-led library associations until the very end.
      Suggested rewrite:
      As participants in the member-led organizations of ALA/ARL, its imperative that library workers educate ourselves about racial equity and uphold systems of accountability as individuals and as a collective. We should not be solely reliant upon large organizations to move this work forward for the workplace or our communities. It is important to remember that each person, regardless of title or position, has the power to influence their community by modeling antiracist practices, advocating for BIPOC communities, and becoming actively involved in committee work, leadership, and governance of library associations.

  • AshleyTeagle

    • In public libraries, we are attempting to address advancement of BIPOC library workers by opening up tuition reimbursement programs to allow for degrees beyond and including the MLIS since leadership roles require additional credentials.

  • claireystew

  • Curtis

  • Erik

    • Is there an opportunity here to reference an opportunity for ARL, ACRL to modify their annual statistical surveys to prompt libraries to more consistently and transparently collect/report data related to DEI?

    • It may not be appropriate to include here but this paragraph made me think of the ALA accreditation of library schools – referencing the influential role that these standards could play in advancing racial equity might be useful somewhere in this document

  • erin

  • harveyej

    • There is one glaring omission that needs to be addressed in this document: collections, acquisitions, and collection development.  The ALA supports their self-defined value of Democracy, which states, “The First Amendment mandates the right of all persons to free expression, and the corollary right to receive the constitutionally protected expression of others. The publicly supported library provides free and equal access to information for all people of the community the library serves.”  This value inherently would protect the rights of free speech for those who carry racist or white supremacist messages through their publications, which could/would be purchased by libraries, thereby negating the goals proposed within this document.
      It is time for ALA to address these diametrically opposed, mixed messages and support true change with regards to this particular value.  The ALA cannot support this value *as it is written* without harming or neglecting those it seeks to protect.

  • ilovelibraries

    • Can there be an addendum that spells out how some of the associations play out in a library context? Many do not understand the implications of white supremacy culture.

    • Yes, and working in collaboration with unions (rather than fighting the existence of them and / or taking their formation personally) is an example of this. During today’s webinar, a suggestion was made that unions be included in the discussion of supportive institutions promoting racial and economic justice. The formation of unions increased as the pandemic persisted. Those who lead these efforts are often library workers who earn the lowest wages, are invisibilized by white supremacy culture, and are on the front lines. They are frequently BILPOC who are asked to do unpaid labor. They are asked to use their cultural capital to connect with the community in ways that their white counterparts are not. Showing cultural competence means engaging and committing to this work for the long haul. Building a positive relationship with a union seeking better worker conditions for library workers and their families is an example of moving beyond cultural competence.

    • Thank you for articulating this. I wholeheartedly agree!

  • imperial

  • jensenk@boulderlibrary.org

  • kdlyons1

    • Comment on General Comments on February 28, 2022

      We applied the scorecard to our work and had valuable discussions as a result.  The following comments apply to the supplemental questions:

      — Embeddedness of DEI into the Culture and Climate of the Organization: add a 5th element: pay differential

      –Training and Education: Include practical examples beyond training

      — Recruitment, Hiring, Retention and Promotion: include pay differential for bi-lingual, bi-cultural and cultural competency (move beyond languages spoken); create an atmosphere in the library that provides BIPOC staff with a comfortable way to share feedback and defines how feedback is received and acted upon.

      — Budget priorities for DEI – elements must move *beyond* collections and book purchases

      — Data Practices: should include elements for marketing, translation and engagement with communities served



  • Kristin

    • It is unclear how this document relates to the ACRL 2012 Cultural Competencies document. Does the 2012 document still stand? I hope so. ACRL 2012 is a model of clear and effective communication. It demonstrates strong alignment with core library values as articulated in the Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement. This Framework is not such a clear communication. It seems to challenge the legitimacy of those values – fundamentally. If the two worldviews are intended to peacefully co-exist within librarianship, it won’t work; they are utterly incompatible.

    • Comment on Introduction on February 26, 2022

      This draft Framework will certainly resonate strongly with people who already agree with it, but will it connect broadly with all library workers? This document is full of confusing redefinitions of commonly-understood words and concepts. I feel the task force may not have considered how negative this language will feel for many library workers, or for our broader public inside and outside academia. The language also strongly reflects an inner-directed focus rather than a focus on the public good libraries represent and that library workers enable.
      The authors, and many readers, will certainly feel that the statements about whiteness, systemic racism, colonialism, imperialism, etc. are their truth, but these highly charged topics do in fact ignite meaningful differences of opinion that are too simply dismissed as “white supremacy culture” (or “internalized racism”). The topics of racism and diversifying our profession are valid, but are they are complex. They are not amenable to moral certainty about the nature of the challenges or the right path forward.
      There should also be real concerns about the extent to which psychological reeducation of individual library workers is an appropriate – or legal – goal for any employer. To one who disagrees with the radical shift from ACRL 2012 to this Framework, it feels like moral extortion, like being bullied. It feels the opposite of inclusive.

    • Racial equity (defined as this Framework’s ultimate goal) is based on a construct of racial/ethnic identity. Racial/ethnic identity can be based on nothing more than how other people perceive your physical appearance. Despite the fact that BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, or White are not bounded groups or “communities” in any meaningful sense, society-level inequities associated with the group are being attached to the individual, whether or not that attribution is correct or they agree with it. If one is not BIPOC, your “Whiteness” is pathologized at the “systemic” level. This is a fundamental social science methodological error: that is, to assign attributes to individuals that are associated group to which they belong. This error leads to patronizing claims, such as “due to racism, people of color do not have the ultimate decision-making power over the decisions that control our lives and resources.” It is the very mechanism by which stereotyping and racism operate and it is a powerful one. It is human nature to stereotype so it feels “right.” It stirs people to action. It also quickly puts them into an offensive of defensive posture. 
      The core problem is that conflating the individual with the group is both sociologically incorrect and morally wrong. Diversity within a group is as evident, and may be just as or more relevant, as diversity between groups. To view someone as simply an avatar of a group is an essentializing technique that has been abused countless times, across all human societies, to justify the superiority of one group and to attribute collective guilt or “badness” to another. Essentializing positions the mind to dehumanize, opening the door to racism and, too frequently, violence based on inter-group hatred. Nothing good lies at the end of that road. We are already seeing now how the dichotomous BIPOC/“whiteness” construct all too easily leads to anti-Semitism. This path should feel alien and abhorrent to librarians, as members of a tolerant profession that welcomes all library users as complex and unique individuals. It is concerning that that approach to questions of diversity is no longer considered “correct” – or even acceptable.

  • Kristin

  • kworrell

    • While no acronym will ever be complete, I would like to offer LGBTQI2+ or LGBTQIA2+ to explicitly name intersex community members, who are active community members and face erasure and exclusion (I cannot provide statistics, but hope to advocate for close chosen family who have voiced these experiences).

    • I think this paragraph could also be more explicit in naming Black members of the LIS community in addition to Indigenous communities and/or communities of color.

    • I have seen TLGBQ in use in community organizations and nonprofits, and as a trans person myself would be interested in seeing trans, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming communities centered in the acronym with TLGBQIA2+.

    • Comment on Frame 4: Antiracist Leadership on February 23, 2022

      That’s a good point. There are no universal or one size fits all solutions like the “universal goals” suggests. And there needs to be flexibility for changing community needs and language.

  • lojacks

  • msdarden

  • mss

    • As a LIS student who has just accumulated $40,000 debt to obtain the recommended LIS degree, I question whether the core reason for the lack of representation in the profession is in large part due to not only the required degree, but also the low paying jobs that are available – even with the degree. Why would a BIPOC individual pursue the library field knowing that many of the salaries are not enough to live on? It is not enough to establish scholarships – though of course that is a huge help – but if the salaries being offered are not enough to live on, they are not going to apply for those jobs. (And, I don’t mean big bucks. I mean enough to live on without facing the poverty threshold – especially in the many years of paying for the graduate education. Though I think teachers should make much, much more for what they do, I think librarians should at least be making what teachers make and that is often not the case.

  • n_elpi

  • Rebecca

  • Robert Yaffee

    • Both the University of Illinois and its library branches offer a wide array of DEIA professional development discussions. We have discussions on various disciplines, from healthcare to business and law, and how marginalized groups often suffer from substandard healthcare, food insecurities and various forms of discrimination. We have a program known as the Alumni Exchange where experts are invited to teach classes via ZOOM to the benefit of our community. I just attended a class concerning discrimination towards marginalized people renting apartments. We were informed of the Fair Housing Act and what it entails. We are encouraged to expand our horizons, and I find these discussions to be very informative and have opened my eyes to DEIA issues and biases.

  • SandyIrwin

  • scalvert

    • Comment on Introduction on February 15, 2022

      cultural proficiency 101: race is not a voluntary identity. “not identifying” doesn’t protect a person from racism. Suggest deep edit to this whole sentence — omit “communities who identify” and just go with “impacts on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.”

    • Comment on Introduction on February 15, 2022

      [thinking, behavior, and practice t]
      whose? Passive language, evacuated of responsibility and action.

    • Suggest “antiracist activity” not antiracism, which is a thought system.Suggest “understanding racial equity” not “ideas around racial equity” as though we don’t want deep understanding of the thing itself.

    • [racial/ethnic identity]
      suggest scrutinizing every use of “identity” to not obscure how racism functions.Racism doesn’t care about your identity. Identity is what you form to survive and respond to racism. “I take my identity from my politics not my politics from my identity.” — Angela Davis.

    • It would be helpful to have a better historicization of the invention of “race” as a particular kind of thing that is not timeless but is specifically bounded. Avoid making it seem as though racist views of difference have existed forever and it is only with the passing of time that “we” have come to have a true understanding of things.”misleading science” is evasive. Race science was instrumental to imperialism and colonialism, allowing and justifying genocide and dispossession. Just say “science” just as you say “religion.”

    • again, nothing to do with identification. I AM white, because that’s how our society divvies people up and allocates value, and I am fair complected. I could disidentify with whiteness and it would have no effect on my privilege.

    • this is such a tepid word for a system that produces such stark disparities in access to material goods, justice, fairness, education, and wealth. It is especially jarring coming in the same sentences as “slavery and colonialism” as though genocide and dispossession were things that happened by degrees to everyone.

    • piggy backing on Curtis’s comment here. “Our society” implies that we all equally feel it is shared. Maybe better to say “society in the United States and Canadian context or similar.” And instead of “our work” perhaps “library work” or “work within libraries.” This may clarify as well what kind of work, since the first sentence says “antiracist work.”

    • Perhaps to answer Curtis’s concern, contextualize IAT as helping people understand biases that are hidden from themselves and that they may relate to many kinds of socially stratified categories. But that this is just about raising awareness and does not necessarily result in appropriate action.

    • [Our history is marked by instances in which we practiced exclusion]
      At minimum, exchange “we” for libraries, but this sentence also is a bit sideways. How about “Historically, [public and university] libraries excluded people of color, and when they did not, resources and services were actively crafted to be inequitable.”

    • This is an important observation, but what do we take from it? Perhaps an obligation on the part of library workers (all ranks) to read these studies and stay ahead on what insights they can offer? How will the 4 organizations be of help here?

    • Could the sponsoring organizations just go ahead and sponsor the work involved in adapting the toolkit?Could this document point to already identified policies that have differential impacts? I think a big one is probably fines/fees and the use of credit reporting agencies for outstanding fees.By the end of this document, will readers be equipped to embark on such an audit?

    • [While not necessarily intentional, this harm emerges as a result of implementing policies without considering how they will affect different populations.]
      This harm emerges because the professional norms assume whiteness, and because we have not made it safe for these norms to be challenged by people who are not white. If we are still considering how they will “affect different populations” from a position in which our professional norms are neutral, we will not be able to detect harm even when we do attempt to “consider” impact. 

    • Credit reporting.It’s not just pejorative terms in metadata that are issues. Collection practices and shelving practices. Who gets leniency and who doesn’t. 

    • Before anyone convenes a “diverse group of stakeholders” check the literature! Check twitter! There are hosts of library workers from every marginalized background who have already alerted us to problems. I am aware that at some organizations, the same “stakeholders” get called on all the time for work like this, to legitimize a process. Do some legwork first. It’s like all of the committee work women of color are pressed to do and so they are burned out. 

    • I think you could make a much longer list of better examples.

    • Could this be stated in a positive way? Who will be complicit with whom?What does that silencing look like? How do library culture, workplace culture, and systemic racism collude to make it bad for your employed future to speak up or raise awareness? What, in positive terms, can library administrators do to protect library workers who speak up about racism, sexism, homophobia, gender phobia, inequity  in general on libraries? For this to happen, library administrators have to nurture a culture where dissent and disagreement are appreciated, not just tolerated or ignored.

    • Comment on Frame 4: Antiracist Leadership on February 15, 2022

      [Leaders must understand that differential outcomes for people of color are not a product of inherent deficits to those communities]
      This invites the view it denounces. I suggest a rephrase: “Leaders must challenge the common view that differential outcomes originate in those communities”

    • Comment on Frame 4: Antiracist Leadership on February 15, 2022

      I would like it if “leaders” was specified. Not all leaders do this. “antiracist leaders” do this.

    • Comment on Frame 4: Antiracist Leadership on February 15, 2022

      [acknowledge the importance of intersectionality]
      “acknowledge that social systems are intersectional”It’s not that intersectionality is important; it’s that it is operative description of what’s happening.

    • Comment on Frame 4: Antiracist Leadership on February 15, 2022

      [ benefits for many marginalized groups. I]
      not just marginalized people! All library constituents. We absolutely have to get this right. Anti-racism should have direct benefit for racialized people and that is enough. But it also benefits white people and people in other marginalized groups. Anti-racism does not harm white people — by making the benefit seem only toward people of color, harm to white people is implied.

    • Comment on Frame 4: Antiracist Leadership on February 15, 2022

      [Transformative leaders cultivate and sustain the work of collective action, building alliances with other groups, organizations, and sectors committed to racial equity.]
      They also support the anti-racist and justice work of individuals within the organization, explicitly, in public and behind closed doors, even when it makes people uncomfortable. Leaders have to have people’s backs or this whole document is junk.

    • Comment on Frame 4: Antiracist Leadership on February 15, 2022

      [Developing consistency in vocabulary, communication, strategies, and vision will help to establish universal goals that have the potential to create deeper and enduring change for the profession.  ]
      but if it’s consistently bad? I think this is the wrong aim.”Universality” is white supremacy culture in a nutshell. Neutral, unmarked, pure, original, universal. The real question is how we can embrace and celebrate difference if we have to hop on board a one train solution.Universality is not the same as commonality. Commonality is not the same as consistency. Solidarity and universality are not the same. The question is about coalitions across difference, not pretending problems can be solved if we agree to a controlled vocabulary about it. This is so ne plus ultra for exactly how white supremacy works across library practices and systems.As we see in the comments, not everyone who might understand themselves as Black, indigenous, a person of color, does not agree with BIPOC. Not every LGBTQIA+ person likes that alphabet soup. We frequently go along with these things for the sake of getting work done together but feel steamrolled by them. Whose voice says “consistency” is key to anti-racism?

    • Comment on Frame 4: Antiracist Leadership on February 15, 2022

      I think this misses so much about how leaders within anti-racism and anti-racists in library worlds are talking about leadership right now. Are we talking about named positions of leadership? Or are we talking about the many leaders within the ranks of libraries right now?What I read here still assumes a top-down organizational model. How does racism flourish in libraries if not through such a model? The upper echelons in libraries are disproportionately white (and etc.). Leaders in named positions need to change how they run their organizations to develop leaderful organizations that share power over more kinds of decision making, including over the systems that sustain racism in library practice. How do we expect to sustain change in organizations of the WAY of the organization stays the same?

    • Comment on Frame 4: Antiracist Leadership on February 15, 2022

      [The responsibility for educating ourselves about racial equity and upholding systems of accountability falls on us as individuals and as a collective, with deep implications for the workplace and our communities. It is important to remember that each person, regardless of title or position, has the power to influence their community by modeling antiracist practices, advocating for BIPOC communities, and becoming actively involved in committee work, leadership, and governance of library associations. ]
      This puts too much burden on individuals.

    • Comment on Frame 4: Antiracist Leadership on February 24, 2022

      Agree with Erik. ALA has unique and unparalleled power in its control over accreditation. 

    • Comment on Frame 4: Antiracist Leadership on February 24, 2022

      It really depends on what is being defined and measured. Perhaps climate studies? 

    • Comment on Frame 4: Antiracist Leadership on February 24, 2022

      There are leaders, and there are people in positions of power. People in positions of power and authority in organizations have a greater responsibility to do more than window dressing. They need to actively create organizations that learn from the library workers they so loudly proclaim they want to hire and retain. There is a huge disconnect — and that’s because there is payoff for publicly championing DEI initiatives and no consequences for those initiatives having no effect because organizational culture maintains the structures of power even when everyone knows not to use bad words for people.

    • a lot of middle and upper management job titles in here. 

    • I hope we can do a lot better than this. Do we know any librarians?
      For example, something like this would be really helpful:https://coco-net.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Coco-WhiteSupCulture-ENG4.pdf

    • I guess a worry of mine is that LIS as a whole has been pretty abysmal and reactionary, and this makes me think we should be offering more recent work from LIS practitioners as well as from outside the field — and fewer things from institutions (e.g., paragraph 6). Why nothing from  https://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org, for example?

    • Comment on Addendum 3: Glossary on February 24, 2022

      It’s really weird that “racial identity” is defined but not “race.” Even below, the definition of “radicalized” leaves “race” untouched. I don’t know how to have this conversation about “cultural proficiencies” if defining race is too hot to touch! 

    • Comment on Addendum 3: Glossary on February 24, 2022

      Any misgivings about this source?

    • Comment on Addendum 3: Glossary on February 24, 2022

      [eparate racial stock]
      yikes! yowza! Is this a direct quote from this source? Do we have to adopt racist language in order to refine racism?This definition also misses something about one’s biological background having explanatory power for the social order. So, not just “a person’s behavior” but that social stratification and inequity itself has a biological basis.

    • Comment on Addendum 3: Glossary on February 24, 2022

      I think there are better definitions of white supremacy as a system that implicitly values some lives, cultures, and expressions over others, a system that is active today in law and society.It is different than paragraph 37 definition, which is about people in white robes burning crosses. When we say “white supremacy” and mean the currently operating system, people think of the guys in white robes (or biker gangs or whatever), and miss how it usually operates.Please find a better source that gets at the mundane aspect of white supremacy.

    • Comment on Addendum 3: Glossary on February 24, 2022

      Where is “power” in this document? It is often used to mean capacity. But power is at the heart of all of this, and it is left untouched. Power over, power to hire, fire, dictate policy. Hierarchical power, structural power. 

    • Comment on Addendum 3: Glossary on February 24, 2022

      This definition is weird. I understand the effort to use an inclusive definition, but it using “self-identify” does two things: first, it implies that non-normative gender and sexual orientation is voluntaristic (i.e., people can simply self-identify, which means they could also . . . just not, they could choose to be “normal”). Second, many people who would fall under this label would not “choose” it to “self-identify.” It really feels like sanitized, like BIPOC, to make it easy for people who are not “LGBTQIA2S+” to have an easy short hand and not have to actually say words like GAY or LESBIAN or QUEER or TRANSGENDER as though they are bad words, or to have to name COMPULSORY HETEROSEXUALITY and FORCED GENDER CONFORMITY. Just as professional norms are formed from whiteness, they are also enforce norms of gender expression. I’d just like to see this document be much more careful any time it uses “identity” or ‘identify.” 

  • stacyt

  • Steve Silver

  • Theo

    • Just combining race with equity isn’t going to get us to a good place. This is several steps backward! Race is a social construction. To paraphrase Lorde who wrote so astutely, you cannot dismantle the master’s house by using his tools! Stop racializing and minoritizing people – this is a “white supremacy” tactic. Find new language. We were doing so well with the language of cultural competencies and diversity. Why have we regressed to prioritizing race again? Ethnicity is more common in most parts of the world and we know that human differences are nuanced even in the racial/cultural sphere because of intermarriage and migration.  By continuing to fixate on race without considering these multiple identities and the true nature of disadvantaged populations, we’re just exporting racism! This sort of a framework is American exceptionalism. How does this make sense in a nation of 330 million with about 12% non-monolithic African Americans ,>13% foreign born?

    • Comment on Addendum 3: Glossary on February 24, 2022

      Yet another Glossary? Why not use the definitions from the Anti-racism Digital Library? 

    • Comment on Addendum 3: Glossary on February 24, 2022

      Anti-racism emerged in Europe in opposition to anti-semitism first. Thus, the hall-mark of anti-racism is its inclusivity / inclusion and to limit it to “racism” is historically incorrect at best and a degeneration into “woke antiracism” at worst. Not the way to dismantle racism!

  • yshorish

Source: https://acrl.ala.org/RacialEquityFramework/comments-by-commenter/