The ACRL Board of Directors commends ALA on its support of immigrants and social media by the organization’s signing of a statement issued by the NYU Brennan Center for Justice concerning the State Department’s proposed policies, published for comment in Public Notice 10065.
ACRL strongly supports and endorses the argument against the State Department’s proposed changes to the current immigration application process documented in the NYU Brennan Center statement:
“This policy would make permanent the collection of additional information from immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other visa ineligibilities, including national security-related ineligibilities.
As with the emergency collection that was put in place in May, the additional requirements impose significant burdens on visa applicants; are apt to chill speech and reveal private information about travelers that is irrelevant to their suitability for entry to the United States; and expose information about their families, friends and business associates in the U.S. Further, the context in which these policies are being developed raises concerns that the populations targeted for additional scrutiny will be identified by their shared religion, nationality, or ideology. Lastly, the data collection will facilitate the bulk mining and analysis of information about travelers and U.S. citizens, amplifying the concerns above, all in exchange for speculative national security benefits, especially in light of the vanishingly small number of foreign-born persons who commit terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.”
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) stands in support of students protected by the Deferred Action to Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which safeguards nearly 800,000 undocumented youth from deportation as they pursue the American dream. DACA-qualified students are members of our academic communities, attend our institutions, work in our libraries, and contribute their unique perspectives to the intellectual discourse, which is vital for the success of our research and educational missions.
ACRL’s unwavering support of DACA-qualified students aligns with librarianship’s core values of democracy, intellectual freedom, diversity, and social responsibility. We believe the dissolution of DACA protections will target undocumented students unfairly for situations they did not create, will harm intellectual freedom by removing the voices of vulnerable groups from the scholarly discourse, and will jeopardize the invaluable cultural enrichment brought to our campuses by immigrant students, faculty, and staff. We also know that many college and university libraries employ students, and that DACA-protected students comprise a portion of these employees. These student employees contribute many talents and skills to our colleges and universities and, by doing so, help us meet our educational goals.
On September 5, 2017, ALA President Jim Neal responded to the news of the Trump administration’s announcement that it will end the DACA program, by stating: “We are disappointed that the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are in jeopardy. Through no fault of their own, these undocumented youth were brought to this country as children, and deserve the opportunity to contribute to our society without the fear of being deported.” We in ACRL agree passionately with this statement and join with President Neal in his appeal for Congress to find a just solution for these valued members of our academic communities.
Resources for further inquiry and action:
ACRL expresses deepest sympathy to the community of Clovis, New Mexico. We echo the sentiments expressed by ALA President James (Jim) Neal in the statement below, released by ALA earlier today. We are keeping the people of Clovis in our thoughts.
ALA President James (Jim) Neal released the following member statement regarding a mass shooting at the Clovis-Carver Public Library in New Mexico.
“We are shocked and saddened by the shooting at the Clovis-Carver Public Library in New Mexico,” said Neal. “We mourn those who were killed, and we offer our thoughts and prayers for the wounded, the families of the victims, library staff, and the community. ALA offers its full support to Clovis-Carver Public Library, the New Mexico Library Association, and the New Mexico State Library as they deal with this senseless violence.
“Unfortunately, we must all be prepared for violence in public places. While ALA encourages its members to work closely with local law enforcement and officials to prepare and train for violence prevention and response, The ALA also provides resources to assist with this issue.”
ALA members are encouraged to visit ALA resources and best practices regarding violence prevention, emergency preparedness, and other valuable resources at:
The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Board of Directors unequivocally decries and deplores all racism and racist ideologies and condemns the bigotry, hate, and violence demonstrated this past week by white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville. We stand with our colleagues at the University of Virginia, recognizing that this was not a localized gathering and could happen on any college or university campus. We honor and remember those who were injured or lost their lives in Charlottesville this past weekend.
ACRL is unwavering in its long-standing commitment to free exchange of different viewpoints, but what happened in Charlottesville was not that; instead, it was terrorism masquerading as free expression. ACRL will continue to advocate for and demand diversity, inclusion, equity, and access in our college and university libraries.
We hope that all members of ACRL will join us in reaffirming our commitment to support students, faculty, staff, and the public we serve. We are committed to representing many backgrounds and advocating for social justice on campus and in our communities.
Editor’s note: The following statement was approved by the ACRL Board of Directors on February 23, 2017. The Board wishes to acknowledge the ACRL Research and Scholarly Environment Committee’s input and work in drafting the statement.
As the higher education organization for librarians, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is dedicated to the advancement of learning and to the transformation of scholarship. ACRL is unwavering in its long-standing commitment to promoting the free exchange of different viewpoints and ensuring privacy and confidentiality in academic libraries. In the spirit of previous statements, ACRL reaffirms its dedication to its core values: visionary leadership; transformation, new ideas, and global perspectives; exemplary service to members; diversity, integrity, and transparency; continuous learning; responsible stewardship of resources; the values of higher education; and intellectual freedom. One of ACRL’s objectives is that “librarians accelerate the transition to more open and equitable systems of scholarship.” Recent actions from the new Executive Branch agencies have cast the realization of this goal into jeopardy, and they run counter to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and Core Values of Librarianship. These values are essential to academic advancement across the institutions we serve in the United States and abroad.
Agency orders to cease communication with the public – as well as a directive calling for the submission of EPA publications to administration review – had to be walked back in response to public outcry, but they set worrisome examples. These federal agencies are taxpayer-supported, and their outputs for public consumption and understanding are an essential service to everyone. Actions that silence scientists and other specialists employed by these agencies set dangerous precedents for fair and open, democratic governance and hinder the advancement of scientific knowledge by restricting the dissemination of research.
Privileging political viewpoints, rather than facts, erodes our country’s values of democracy, liberty, and equality. Limiting the ability of scientists and other educators to communicate with the public jeopardizes the creation of new knowledge. It is critical to maintain open communication from the government to the public, especially to support efforts to enfranchise disadvantaged and underrepresented populations, who rely on access to publicly available resources to make economic and health decisions. If these restrictive acts go unchallenged, we potentially set in motion an era of complacency that could devolve into acceptance of suppression and a mindset that discourages civic engagement and undermines the principles of democracy, which rely on an engaged population.
ACRL considers it an ethical and professional responsibility to challenge attempts to call into question the validity of facts simply because they run counter to the establishment’s agenda, or to subvert access to information.