The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Board of Directors is aware that ALA Midwinter attendees have reported experiencing violations of the conference Code of Conduct, including incidents of racism, harassment, and discrimination. We laud the strength of those who have shared their experiences to draw needed attention to violations, and we abhor the systemic inequities in our profession that have normalized discriminatory, harassing, and racist behaviors.
As a division of ALA, we are aware that ACRL also has work to do to address systemic racism and oppressive practices within the Association. We recognize that ACRL is not as representative as it needs to be. ACRL has a core commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and recognizes the urgency of taking steps to create a responsive association that empowers all of its members. As part of our commitment, we have arranged anti-bias training for leaders and trainers within ACRL and funded additional Spectrum Scholarships for colleagues of color to join and thrive in the profession. We expect our leaders and members to be courageous in speaking against harassment or bullying behavior when they witness it.
Our commitment to a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse association leads us to strongly urge ALA to carry out the work it has promised to do in its statement and to set up town hall sessions with Council, the Executive Board, and the general membership, and to seriously reflect on enacting our professional values. Our profession needs to talk about the way that racism and systems that privilege whiteness have permeated our profession and our professional events. The ACRL Board, Conference planners, and staff will be reviewing plans for the ACRL 2019 Conference in Cleveland to ensure that it is a safe and welcoming place for all.
This work is critical. We do it in service of building a more inclusive and equitable association and profession, and more inclusive and equitable libraries for our communities. We hope that all ACRL members will reaffirm the Board’s commitment to being advocates for our colleagues and advancing social justice in our communities and association.