Fulton County Library, Sarah Cutchall and Emily Best win 2022 ALA Equality Award
For Immediate Release
American Library Association
CHICAGO — The Fulton County Library in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania, along with Sarah Cutchall and Emily Best, was the choice of the award jury to receive the 2022 American Library Association (ALA) Equality Award. The award consists of $1,000 and a framed citation will be presented on Sunday, June 26, 2022 at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC
They are being recognized for actions taken in response to the Fulton County Commissioners’ negative public comments and funding increase refusal when learning of the library’s intent to allow all who live, work, and learn in Fulton County to use the Library’s meeting rooms. Two of the three-member County Commissioner Board took positions in opposition to having a "hate group" - read LGBTQ+ people, use the library to meet. The two County Commissioners discussed eliminating the Library’s annual funding of $12,000, but instead refused to approve the Library’s request for an additional $3000 in funding. Appalled by the two Commissioners’ public comments and action, the two community activists, Sarah Cutchall and Emily Best established a Go Fund Me page and a Facebook Fund page and together raised over $40,000 for the library.
Many colleagues and libraries have been recognized for their intellectual freedom stands regarding challenges to materials. This challenge is different in that it targets a specific segment of the county's population as a group with a specific label: LGBTQ+ corresponds to "hate group". This is an example of what we will continue to see in the "culture wars" spreading across our country.
The Equality Award, sponsored by Rowman & Littlefield, is awarded annually, in recognition of achievement for outstanding contribution toward promoting equality in the library profession, either by a sustained contribution or a single outstanding accomplishment. The award may be given for an activist or scholarly contribution in such areas as pay equity, affirmative action, legislative work and non-sexist education.
Jury members for the 2022 Equality Award include Ann K. Symons, Douglas, AK; Kyle Barber, Nashville Public Library; Rodney Lippard, University of South Carolina Aiken. Ann K. Symons, Chair.