Recent events, joining a longer timeline of injustice, have showcased the systematic racism and inequality in our society. Black lives matter. We are committed to upholding the value of Black persons, Black voices, and all marginalized populations in our organization, the academic library field, the communities that we serve, and within our own daily lives.
The Michigan Academic Library Association (MiALA) Board and its newly formed Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Taskforce are dedicated to working as anti-racists in combating White supremacy and the systematic oppression of Black persons, and all marginalized populations, through our work as board members and as library professionals.
MiALA is dedicated to continual organizational betterment and further improvement of the academic library field in which it is situated through advocacy and resourcing. The Board recognizes that intentions are less important than the pain caused and we strive to listen to our members, to put forth the emotional work needed, and to take restorative action. This year, the IDEA Taskforce created Best Practices and a Code of Conduct in an effort to improve inclusiveness and diversity, but going forward, the IDEA Taskforce and the Board will work toward taking specific anti-racism actions. The Board strives to implement these practices at all MiALA events, meetings, and correspondence and will respond with quick action when these practices are not met.
Again, we are committed to upholding the value of Black persons and Black voices in our organization and field. Black lives matter.
As an association, we realize that work occurs as a piece of our larger life experiences. We want to invite you all to take whatever steps you need to maintain both physical and emotional health during this traumatic time. Please take the space to acknowledge if you are not alright. We acknowledge that our Black colleagues are disproportionately impacted. We implore our member libraries to move forward without expecting marginalized persons to shoulder a greater load within our organizations to help inform, guide, and “represent.” (See Maintaining Professionalism in The Age of Black Death Is …. A Lot)
As MiALA starts a new year, we will continue to strive for a welcoming and supportive environment for all. We are committed to encouraging and respecting marginalized voices and lived experiences as our professional library association continues to grow and learn. Matters of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility are complex and challenging, requiring sustained efforts of evaluation and continual improvement. We have asked for membership approval to make the IDEA Taskforce into a standing committee. The Board and the IDEA Taskforce will begin its work by organizing anti-racism professional development opportunities so we can further educate ourselves and consider future action as an association.
We challenge all MiALA members to continue (or begin) the anti-racism work so needed. The following resources are a starting point.
We plan to provide updates to the membership on our anti-racism efforts. As always, we want to hear from you about how we might support you and your academic libraries going forward. Please reach out to us to share ideas or suggestions.
The Board and IDEA Taskforce