We as members of Indiana Black Librarians Network (IBLN), stand in full support of Latrice Booker and her resignation letter as Indiana Library Federation (ILF) president, that exposed white supremacy and anti-Black racism within our library profession and professional organizations like the ILF. We know a few things to be true, the libraries where we work can be hostile to Black and other marginalized people, whether they are patrons or library staff. Black library staff see the importance in the work that we do to help serve the informational needs of the people in our communities; the ability to do our jobs more effectively would increase if we did not have to navigate toxic work environments or toxic situations with our colleagues and those in power at our institutions.
This year the Indiana Black Librarians Network will celebrate 20 years as an organization. We stand as an organization that provides a place of support, learning, mentorship and information exchange for Black librarians and our allies. We encourage anyone who wants to learn the richness of our Black librarians working in the state of Indiana to follow and support IBLN through membership, donations and attending our programs. We know that much change is needed to make our profession live up to the myth that librarianship is the cornerstone of democracy. We can only move in that direction if we acknowledge our white supremacist past and its lasting effects. That we call on white librarians to do their part in dismantling white supremacy in our profession and our professional organizations.
Here are our demands for ILF:
- There needs to be a strategic effort to hire and retain Black librarians in the state of Indiana.
- Intentional outreach to diverse librarians with ILF in leadership and programming. They can work with IBLN members to increase their diverse programming and outreach that amplify the voices and concerns of Black librarians in the state of Indiana.
- Set up a scholarship program supporting diverse populations. We need to eliminate the monetary barrier for Black librarians to enter into the profession.
- Anti-racism training for ILF leadership and members. This will help Black librarians and other librarians of color feel more comfortable working with ILF leadership and its members moving forward.
These demands are not meant to be easy. These demands are not meant to absolve the harm that has been done. These demands are to create a new path forward that breaks the cycle of white supremacy in our profession so that we all can thrive.
Find more information about IBLN at our website: http://indianablacklibrarians.net
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