Hateful Conduct in Libraries: A New ALA Resource

For Immediate Release
Thu, 02/14/2019

Contact:

Amber Hayes

Program Officer, Outreach and Communications

Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services

312-280-2140

ahayes@ala.org

Chicago – During the recent ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) and the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) launched a new  resource, ‘Hateful Conduct in Libraries: Supporting Library Workers and Patrons.’ This document, created collaboratively by the two offices, responds to requests and inquiries by ALA members seeking to address a spike in reported hate crimes in libraries across the United States, which the two offices began tracking in 2016. Jody Gray, Director for the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach, and Kristin Lahurd, Assistant Director for Continuing Education and Literacy stated, “Since we began our partnership in looking at hate crimes in libraries, OIF and ODLOS have interwoven our missions, strengths, and expertise to ensure that library workers know and understand their legal obligations and considerations, while also being aware of and responsive to the trauma that impacts their staff and the community.”

These requests and inquiries raised many questions regarding patron behavior as well as questions about the requirements of the First Amendment, and the ‘Hateful Conduct in Libraries’ resource aims to address these complicated issues in a format designed to evolve in response to new controversies and changing conditions.

 The ‘Hateful Conduct in Libraries’ resource outlines best practices on how to create environments that discourage hate speech and hateful conduct in the library, example steps of what library workers should do after an incident, and how libraries can better meet community needs. This document is expected to serve as a living resource with updates from both ALA offices.

Please continue to report hate crimes in libraries via ALA’s online form: http://www.ala.org/tools/challengesupport/report.

Questions regarding the ‘Hateful Conduct in Libraries: Supporting Library Workers and Patrons’ resource can be directed to the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services at diversity@ala.org.

Questions regarding library policies and workplace speech can be directed to the Office for Intellectual Freedom at oif@ala.org.

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The Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) – The ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services supports library and information science workers in creating responsible and all-inclusive spaces that serve and represent the entire community. To accomplish this, we decenter power and privilege by facilitating conversations around access and identity as they impact the profession and those we serve. We use a social justice framework to inform library and information science workers' development of resources. We strive to create an association culture where these concerns are incorporated into everybody's everyday work.

The Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) - The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. OIF provides guidance, information, and resources on a range of intellectual freedom subjects related to libraries and provides confidential support to anyone undergoing a material or service challenge.