The New Hampshire Library Association has released the following statement calling for action to end racism:
Statement Calling for Action to End Racism
The New Hampshire Library Association commits to taking action to end racism in our libraries and in our communities. In the memory of George Floyd, who was murdered at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, and in memory of the people of color in the United States who have suffered injustice, violence, and countless indignities, we recognize that the time has come to say “enough.”
We stand in support of the statement of our colleagues of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association who wrote, “ It is necessary for the membership to be proactive not only when someone in our community is harmed, but preventative in anticipating historically sanctioned violence by participating in local efforts to counter racism and violence against Black men and women. The systemic machinery of racism does not sleep and neither should we in our efforts to counter it.” While they refer to the membership of BCALA, we extend this challenge to the New Hampshire library community.
The NHLA Board will form an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion taskforce immediately to guide the work ahead. We promise to support our libraries in professional development, hiring practices, board and committee appointments, collection development, programming and other ways identified by our community as a need.
The core values of libraries include democracy, social responsibility, diversity, and education. New Hampshire Libraries have the ability to make a difference in our communities and must act to support people of color who have repeatedly experienced racism, exclusion or discrimination. Our reputation as committed, caring community partners makes us well suited to the task ahead. To those who are already involved in this work, thank you. To those who are ready to do better, so are we.
A Note to Our Community
The Paul Memorial Library echoes this statement and we wish to express solidarity with our Black community. New Hampshire is a largely white state, so it is easy to fall into the assumption that race and diversity issues do not apply to us. Yet we emphasize that diversity does not just serve the marginalized but also the majority. When children and adults are exposed to different ideas, cultures, and people we build a foundation for greater equity, justice, and goodwill throughout our community. And when people see themselves and their experiences reflected in the books they read, their worth and identity is validated.
That representation is powerful, sacred, and necessary and a core part of the library’s mission: “To enhance, enrich, and engage the residents of Newfields and to nurture the community spirit in a warm and welcoming environment that is open to all.”
Our Commitment to You
We are committed to providing inclusive resources, materials, and programs here in Newfields and have outlined a few of the steps we plan to take to ensure our vision for an equitable future becomes reality:
- We are reviewing our current collections to identify gaps in representation.
- We are purchasing materials with greater focus on diverse voices in both content and authorship.
- We are relying on materials recommendations by the people we seek to include (specifically Black people, as well as indigenous and other people of color and those with disabilities).
As always, we also want to hear from you, our patrons. We welcome any feedback you have on how we can better serve you and our community to make the library a safe and welcome space for all.
The Paul Memorial Library Staff