Thursday, December 15, 2016

Official Statement from ALA's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Implementation Working Group (EDI-IWG)

Statement on Recent Post-Election Communications

Official Statement from the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Implementation Working Group - November 28, 2016

The ALA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Implementation Working Group (EDI-IWG) expresses disappointment and dismay towards the ALA Washington Office press releases, “ALA offers expertise, resources to incoming administration and Congress” and “Libraries bolster opportunity — new briefs show how libraries support policy priorities of new Administration.” These statements imply uncritical cooperation with an administration that is already acting against ALA’s core values.
This body, first as a Task Force and now as an Implementation Working Group, has toiled for the past two years on infusing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) into our profession and association. The press statements from two weeks ago, released just as we begin implementing the Task Force’s recommendations, contradict our work that is vital to the future of our organization. We object to the ALA’s encouragement of the policies of an administration that has demonstrated disrespect for our values and our profession. Our utmost priorities during this current time of rampant misinformation and propaganda should be honoring diversity and ensuring the ethical use and critical evaluation of information.
While we appreciate President Todaro’s remarks on the morning of November 21, 2016 regarding the egregious error in releasing a “draft” statement and subsequent withdrawal of the more explicitly supportive releases, we call for accountability from the ALA Washington Office for creating the original statements. We need reassurance that the authoring body is as invested in upholding our professional core values as we are. We do not want to be an association of empty lip service; we want to be an association of action, one that stands up for the rights of its members, its service communities, and its patrons. We call on ALA to dedicate material, time, and labor resources to make EDI a top priority for our organization, without pandering to those who would undermine our work. It is our duty and obligation to provide our members and patrons with the information they need to make sound, rational decisions within the association and the larger society.  

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