Charge and Work
Because we believe that #LibrariesTransform, we also commit to honest reflection and structural change. We acknowledge that libraries have been—and still are—complicit in systems that oppress, exclude, and harm Black people, indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC). The library profession remains overwhelmingly white, despite decades of emphasis on diversity and inclusion. We see incredible examples of self-determination and resilience by BIPOC librarians and educators, yet the profession has largely failed to improve conditions and ensure pathways for advancement among library workers of color. We commit to dismantling white supremacy in libraries and librarianship. We recognize the urgency of this collective work, and commit to hold ourselves, our colleagues, and our institutions accountable when we fall short.
Deliverables and outcomes:
The PLA Committee on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice commit to do the following:
- Convene meaningful conversations about EDISJ in public libraries. In the next few months, we will be hosting a series of Twitter chats.
- Identify the action step(s) above that we are collectively best positioned to address during our next year of work and develop concrete recommendations for PLA to advance racial equity and organizational change in libraries;
- Evaluate the structure of the Committee with the aim of creating a more diverse and representative entity with the capacity to move this transformative work forward; and
- Embrace discomfort as we navigate challenging and emotional subjects. To uproot racism and white supremacy within ourselves and our institutions will require immense courage, compassion, and the honest desire for accountability.
Expected time commitment:
- Attend ALA Midwinter Meeting and ALA Annual Conference (4 hours/year plus travel time)
- Attend monthly virtual meetings (10–12 hours/year)
- Participate on project subcommittees such as communications, training, etc. as assigned (variable)
- Review and respond to emails and ALA Connect messages (2–3 hours/year)
- Provide subject matter expertise on priority projects (12 hours/year)
- (Optional) Represent PLA and the Committee at relevant national meetings such as the Joint Conference on Librarians of Color (variable)
Desired skills, knowledge, or experience:
- Personal interest in and strong commitment to social justice and providing equitable library services for all
- Experience as a leader or active participant in addressing EDISJ issues at your public library of employment
- Strong speaking and/or writing skills to help the Committee advance its projects
Displaying active committee roster as of 01/26/2021. Last retrieved on 01/26/2021. Members can log in to view full contact information for committee members.
The task force is comprised of up to twenty (20) members, led by two (2) co-chairs.
Created by the Board of Directors as its Midwinter 2017 meeting.
To be a thriving, vibrant organization, PLA must have committed and active committee members. If you are interested in serving on a committee, please read and fill out the online volunteer form.
- Volunteers are accepted on an ongoing basis.
- Appointments are made by the PLA President and President-Elect, primarily in the spring.
- Volunteers must be members of ALA and PLA.
Join the PLA Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice Interest Group on ALA Connect to stay up-to-date on these topics and connect with peers on similar issues. PLA personal membership is required to join.