Libraries Respond: 2016 Election

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A Message from ALA President, Julie Todaro

"After a contentious campaign season filled with divisive rhetoric, we are now hearing from our members and in the news media about incidents of bigotry and harassment within our communities. During times like these, our nation’s 120,000 public, academic, school and special libraries are invaluable allies inspiring understanding and community healing. Libraries provide a safe place for individuals of all ages and backgrounds and for difficult discussions on social issues. Our nation’s libraries serve all community members, including people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, and the most vulnerable in our communities, offering services and educational resources that transform communities, open minds and promote inclusion and diversity. ALA believes that the struggle against racism, prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination is central to our mission. As an association representing these libraries, librarians and library workers, We will continue to support efforts to abolish intolerance and cultural invisibility, stand up for all the members of the communities we serve, and promote understanding and inclusion through our work." Julie Todaro, ALA President 2016 - 2017 (read the full statement)


We ask all library workers to help us continue to bring visibility to the work we do together to show up in the face of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and all forms of bigotry and oppression as we pursue our mission. The library is a place where patrons learn more about the issues at stake from credible sources, learn history, find quality books, take advantage of community resources, utilize safe spaces, organize, and engage in self-care as they confront another difficult period.

How is your library showing up in the aftermath of the 2016 election? Tweet and post on social media using the #librariesrespond hashtag.

Resources from ALA

  • Open to All: Serving the GLBT Community in Your Library - A product of ALA's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT), Open to All provides library staff with the tools and knowledge to better under understand GLBT users, how to best serve their needs, and how to manage challenges that often arise.
  • Post-Election Resources - Information and resources from the Public Library Association for libraries as they serve their communities.
  • The Post Election Library - A page in the ALA Public Programs' Office blog, "Programming Librarian." that highlights some of the many ways libraries are making their patrons feel safe and welcome.
  • Supporting Youth in the Post-2016 Election Climate - Libraries can play a key role in supporting youth who are fearful or anxious, or who have been bullied, threatened, or assaulted following the election last week. YALSA has compiled a list of free resources libraries can leverage to address concerns that youth and their families are having.
  • Unity. Kindness. Peace - A new booklist from ALSC to help members and parents find and use books to have positive conversations with children asking difficult questions about the election and post-election incidents.

Libraries in the News

PBS Newshour (2/13/17): Why these librarians are protesting Trump's executive orders - by Elizabeth Flock (1/26/17): Going for the Save: Archivists Caution Trump Administration Against Destroying Records, History

Minneapolis Star-Tribune (12/1/16): Libraries serve wide range of purposes and people, some homeless - by Martha Rosen

The Guardian (11/30/16): Libraries promise to destroy user data to avoid threat of government surveillance - by Sam Thielman

The Verge (11/29/16): The Internet Archive is building a Canadian copy to protect itself against Trump - by Adi Robertson

Huffington Post (11/28/16): Public Library Reports Hate Crimes Against Muslims In Graffitied Books - Response to vandalism of the Qu'ran and other Islamic-centered books in the Evanston (Ill.) Public Library)

School Library Journal Never Ending Search Blog (11/26/16): Truth, truthiness, triangulation: A news literacy toolkit for a “post-truth” world - by Joyce Valenza

Denver Post (11/26/16): Considering the Denver Public Library’s mission in the wake of the election - Opinion column by Denver City Librarian Michelle Jeske

The Ithacan (11/16/16): Open Letter: Faculty and staff support students postelection - Open letter signed by faculty and staff (including librarians) at Ithaca College

The Verge (11/16/16): In the war on fake news, school librarians have a huge role to play - by Kaitlyn Tiffany

Los Angeles Times (11/10/16): How to weather the Trump Administration: Head to the library - Opinion column by David Kipen, former literature director of the National Endowment for the Arts

Places Journal (11/2016): Public In/Formation - Call-to-action for librarians to "create and defend vital places of information exchange" by Shannon Mattern, Associate Professor in the School of Media Studies at The New School

Statements from ALA Divisions and Affiliates

Library and Information Technology Association

"An election is one of the strongest forms of democracy in action. As such, it should also be one of our most joyful celebrations. The year’s particularly divisive campaign, however, revealed a chasm of which many of us were not fully aware. For 50 years, LITA has been a welcoming place that supports and empowers technologists who work in the intersection of libraries and information technology. Members of LITA come from all different walks of life. We welcome them regardless of what they look like, how they identify their gender, what their faiths are, what disabilities they may have, who they love, where they come from, what languages they speak, or where they live." - LITA Board of Directors (read the full statement)

Public Library Association

“Inclusiveness is a core value of the Public Library Association. The public library has an unparalleled ability to bring people and knowledge together, especially in times of uncertainty and division. We are places of learning, free inquiry and free speech for people of all ages and backgrounds. As such, our nation’s public libraries stand as a bulwark to intolerance and a beacon of opportunity. We are committed to ensuring a safe place for all that reflects and serves the diversity of our nation in our collections, programs and services. With thousands of public libraries in towns and neighborhoods across the country, we invite community conversations and action that further understanding and address local needs.” - Felton Thomas, Jr., PLA President (read the full statement)

Association of Research Libraries

"As social institutions, research libraries strive to be welcoming havens for all members of our communities, and ARL libraries will not deny service to anyone based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, or citizenship status. While ARL libraries and archives work hard to be inclusive in their hiring, collections, services, and environments, the Association and its members will not claim neutrality in the face of discrimination, sexism, ableism, racism, homophobia, religious persecution, or other forms of oppression. We support freedom of speech and the open exchange of ideas and opinions, but we will not tolerate hate speech, silencing, inflammatory rhetoric, or any other speech or action that threatens the safety or dignity of any member of our community." - Chris Bourg, ARL Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair (read the full statement)

Research Libraries, University Presses Oppose Trump's Immigration Order

"President Trump’s recent executive order temporarily barring entry into the US by individuals from seven countries is contrary to the values held by libraries and presses, and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) stand unequivocally opposed to this immigration ban." (read the full statement)

Additional Resources

#LibrariesResist Resource List compiled by Que(e)ry Librarians and other interested groups; includes information on civil and human rights, reading lists, syllabi, government resources, information literacy, and more.


For more information, please contact:

ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services

225 N Michigan Ave

Suite 1300

Chicago, IL 60601

1-800-545-2433 ext. 4294

Fax: 312-280-3256