A bit of an update for y'all
There are several stories that attempt to explain the loss of the Library of Alexandria. Some stories are very romantic and would have us believe that the library is intact but hidden beneath the sands, waiting for an intrepid librarian/explorer to find it and reveal its knowledge to the modern world.
In order for any program or initiative to work, and be meaningful, it has to be evaluated regularly. The program that you initially created may have seemed awesome and absolutely the answer in theory but you won't know this for a fact if you don't analyze how it's actually working in practice.
But what if we could turn that into a learning experience that's fun and inclusive and enriching and provides access to materials and ideas that they wouldn't normally be able to access? If we could do that, we could help them understand that they deserve a good education just as much as anyone else and that their circumstances don't define their worth or their ability to become whatever it is they want to be.
Libraries exist in a unique place in our culture and they have the ability to set cultural standards simply by the books that they offer and display, and the ways in which they speak with their patrons about their reading choices. Due to the implied authority of librarians, young readers especially will be influenced by the suggestions that are being made. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. It really just depends on the librarian.
So, the policies, services, and collections are in place, but that isn't enough. As we've discussed before, not everyone that you are trying to reach is a library patron, yet. They need to know that these services and collections are there for them so how do we do it?
Weirdly enough--or maybe not so weird--the specific use of "illegal immigrants," a term used to dehumanize and deny agency, was a very large sticking point and on July 10, 2016, the LOC was ordered to continue using that subject heading. Many libraries across the country began creating their own subject headings to bypass this and, as of today, right now, the term is still very much in use within the LC Catalog.
But, the only way for libraries to be a place where the entirety of the community is welcome, is to understand the community in its entirety. And this isn’t something that’s necessarily going to be easy. Librarians have to get to know the people in their communities. All of the people. They have to understand their patrons, and potential patrons and make sure that the library is a place where everyone feels that their needs are being met.
The inherent problem is that these statements are being grafted onto a framework that is steeped in white supremacy and has been for decades. Diversity statements cannot just be attached, like a rider that no one actually reads.
**Disclaimer-While I have my MLS, I am not currently a librarian. I'm a PhD student in Rhetoric and I'm a graduate research assistant in the TWU library, where I've worked for 5 years. I also happen to be taking a library school class as an elective. These posts are part of a weekly reading response. … Continue reading In Which We Once Again Revisit the Myth of Library Neutrality