Traditionally, the library and information science profession has been predominately white. Even in diverse communities, library professionals do not always reflect the populations they serve. Therefore it is essential that library and information science professionals serve their communities as allies. So, what exactly is an ally?
The word ally comes from Middle French and means ‘to bind together.’ An ally is one who recognizes their unearned systemic privilege from societal injustice and works to change these patterns of injustice. Consciously and actively, allies bind themselves to those who society has marginalized and disenfranchised to work towards battling oppression in a fight towards equality and equity. In the library and information science field, white allyship means working to combat racism through the elimination of micro- aggressions, de-centering power and privilege, and facilitating inclusive conversations with the profession and to those we serve.Education is a key part of becoming a stronger ally. Below are some resources guides for becoming an ally.
Resources for Allies
- What is an ally? -This is a comprehensive guide for allies.
- Ally Up! Practice Effective Allyship - This printable guide from Cornell University lists recommendations and best practices.
- How to be an ally - Teaching Tolerance's guide to being an ally.
- Keeping Up With... Micro-aggressions - An overview of microagressions in libraries
- How to be a good white ally, according to activists - article published by Vox
- Non-Optical Ally Guide - recommendations for White allies who work to be anti-racist
For more information, please contact:
ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, Illinois 60611
1-800-545-2433 ext. 4294