LES Community Agreement
In keeping with ALA mandates, this document is not a policy or code. This document defers to and is in accordance with the ALA Statement of Appropriate Conduct and the Statement of Appropriate Conduct at ALA Conferences. This Community Agreement does extend the baseline expectations for collegial interactions and articulates the values and ideals of the Literatures in English Section for its members. This is a living document for the community to revisit and revise as needed over time. Violations of this agreement may be reported using this feedback form.
The ACRL-Literatures in English Section is committed to supporting community building through inclusive action and regularly seeks out ways to advocate for inclusive and anti-oppressive practices through ongoing dialogue and training. To this end, the section has created mechanisms for individuals engaging in face-to-face and virtual LES activities to provide feedback about their experiences and share ongoing suggestions for this Community Agreement. LES is committed to empathetic and active listening to all feedback. The section will use this feedback to update the Agreement and develop additional programming to advance our commitment to creating equitable and inclusive physical and virtual spaces. The LES Executive and Membership Committees will never share personal or private information with the LES general membership.
The LES community agrees to frame online and in-person LES interactions with the following guidelines in mind. We recognize that we will all make mistakes and may unintentionally harm individuals or groups as we engage as a community, but we agree to take responsibility for the results of our words and actions.
We expect that all LES meetings will begin with a brief review of these agreements so they may become standard for activities in the Section.
- We will practice allyship, and engage as active bystanders. Active bystanders do not assume the role of judge, hero, or rescuer but rather interrupt, inquire, and offer support in order to mitigate harassing or exclusionary behavior.
- We will not speak for others, and we will not ask someone else to speak for others.
- We will practice active listening and listen more than we individually speak, paying attention to power dynamics in the room (or virtual room).
- We value everyone’s voice and encourage everyone to speak up, encouraging and yielding the floor to those whose viewpoints may be under-represented in a group.1
- We will listen actively when someone shares the effect our communication has on them, and be open to criticism, and will take time to consider criticism carefully and respectfully, and resist becoming defensive.
- We will respect people’s preferred names and gender pronouns.
- We will give credit where credit is due.
- We will respect the stated preferences of presenters, panelists, and meeting participants concerning the taking and sharing of photographs at LES functions.
LES Exec and Membership welcome your feedback on how to improve this Community Agreement as well as members’ experiences engaging with LES vis-a-vis this shared Community Agreement. Providing feedback is a form of advocacy; individuals submitting feedback will be referred to as “advocates.” We welcome feedback from advocates who are not LES members as well.
LES members are always welcome to contact and speak with a member of the LES Membership or Executive Committees. Feedback can also be offered via the LES Feedback Form. Electronic submissions through this form will be received by the Past Chair, Member-At-Large, Secretary, and the Chair of the Membership Committee.
While LES recognizes that some may wish to offer feedback anonymously, anonymity limits the ability of LES to take direct action or enact consequences. In order to protect members’ privacy, LES will expunge personal data from all feedback avenues annually. Personal or private details of feedback will never be shared with LES general membership.
How LES Will Handle Feedback Submissions
One of those designated as monitors of the feedback form will send an initial message to the advocate confirming receipt of the feedback, if contact information is submitted. The form monitors may follow-up with additional questions to the advocate/offender to gather more information, and will inform LES Exec that feedback has been received. Communications with the designated form monitors and the advocate/offender may successfully resolve the conflict (for example, by prompting the offender to produce a sincere and thoughtful apology that is accepted by the advocate and persons harmed by the offender’s actions).
If no resolution is reached through the communications with those monitoring the feedback form, the form monitors will produce a report and transmit it to the members of LES Exec, who will determine an appropriate response, which could range from meeting with and listening to the advocate to enacting consequences. Some possible consequences are listed below. Throughout the entire process, the form monitors and LES Exec will strive to respect the advocate’s wishes as we work to ensure a safe, inclusive, and oppression-free space for our community.
Anonymous feedback will be handled depending on the information provided.
In the interest of transparency, at every ALA Annual Conference LES Exec will report to the Section an anonymized summary of all feedback received, as well as a description of the Section’s responses. Reporting out is intended to minimize harm and prevent future violations of community agreements. LES Exec will also use this information to inform longer-term planning for the section.
Failing to uphold the Community Agreements may constitute a form of harassment or exclusionary behavior, particularly if there is an impact to any person such that they make use of the Community Agreement by providing feedback through the form and/or in person. Hereafter, “violations” refers generally to actions that violate the Community Agreements, and “offender” refers to the person identified by the advocate as having taken such actions. When the action takes place at an LES-sponsored event, LES Exec will consider possible consequences, including but not limited to:
- warning the offender to cease their behavior and that any further reports will result in other sanctions;
- requiring that the offender avoid any interaction with, and physical proximity to, their victim for the remainder of the event;
- early termination of a talk that violates the policy;
- not publishing the video or slides of a talk that violated the policy;
- not allowing a speaker who violated the policy to give (further) talks at LES-sponsored events;
- requiring that the offender immediately leave the LES-sponsored event and not return;
- banning the offender from future LES events (either indefinitely or for a certain time period);
- publishing an account of the harassment or exclusionary behavior.
For actions that involve an LES member, whether at an LES-sponsored event or elsewhere, LES Exec will consider other possible consequences in addition to the ones above, again including but not limited to:
- suspend or end any event volunteer responsibilities and privileges the offender holds, requiring that the offender not volunteer for future LES events (either indefinitely or for a certain time period);
- suspend the offender’s membership with LES (for a period of time or indefinitely);
- discuss other possible actions with ACRL and ALA Membership.
Allyship and Active Bystanders
The commitment to building a community that fosters free and open collaboration in a safe and supportive environment is one that must be made by each member of the community.
We understand that traditional practices and professional structures have been part of and often inherently uphold systemic oppression and marginalization of certain groups. We therefore do not prioritize continuation of “civil” or “professional” norms in behavior and language when they actually continue those biased and oppressive practices. Rather we value and uphold empathetic and sensitive practices that prioritize the valuation of human dignity. Allyship often begins with active listening, leaning into discomfort, and seeking concrete ways to make physical and online spaces more universally accessible and welcoming. We ask the LES community, including every individual, to be alert to the welfare of those around you.
The LES Community Agreement was adapted and revised by members of the LES Planning Committee: Sherri Brown, Camille Cooper, Mark Dahlquist, Brian Flota, Nancy Foasberg, and Ginny Moran. LES commits to updating this living document based on feedback received and in consultation with LES Exec and other LES committee members on at least an annual basis.
Our Community Agreement draws upon and includes language from the DSS Community Agreement, and is also inspired by the following Codes of Conduct and anti-oppressive practices:
- Code4Lib Code of Conduct
- DLF Code of Conduct
- RDAP Code of Conduct
- Moving Beyond Race 101 (ACRL 2019)
- Mt. Holyoke Active Bystander Training
June 10, 2020
CC BY-NC: This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
Comments may be directed to the Interim LES Website Editor, Jen Fehselfeld.
Special thanks to Jackie Hackman for designing the LES logo.
Last updated: June 15, 2021