The American Library Association’s (ALA) fourth strategic direction equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is timely for many reasons given the current political environment in the United States and our country’s difficult history with regards to issues of bias, discrimination, racism, and privilege. These issues have deeply impacted library users and library workers. The pursuit of this strategic initiative provides RUSA members with an opportunity for conversation about how considerations of diversity, equity and inclusion impact reference and user services in libraries and how we can try to effect positive change. To frame the conversation, RUSA formed a working group to draft an aspirational statement of RUSA values pertaining to EDI in service to library users and RUSA members. The RUSA Board approved this statement at the 2018 Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA. Working group members were Robin Bradford, Alesia McManus, Amber Prentiss, and Chella Vaidyanathan.
Here is the statement:
RUSA is an association of library personnel connecting people to resources, information services and collections. Recognizing the importance of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion*, the association affirms the right of access to information for people of all identities, backgrounds, ages, and abilities especially with regards to marginalized peoples. We value and support people seeking knowledge, enrichment, entertainment and life-long learning. We work within our communities to provide equitable access to library resources by building inclusive collections, and providing accessible spaces and services. We are welcoming, open and accepting of a diversity of viewpoints among our association members, and we strive to offer a safe environment for our colleagues to explore and express their ideas.
*We employ the meanings of the words Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as defined in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/EDI
Please send any comments to Bill Ladewski, RUSA Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org