ACRL Core Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
ACRL is dedicated to creating diverse and inclusive communities in the Association and in academic and research libraries. This core commitment permeates the work of the Association, cutting across all ACRL sections, committees, interest and discussion groups, and communities of practice. The Association will acknowledge and address historical racial inequities; challenge oppressive systems within academic libraries; value different ways of knowing; and identify and work to eliminate barriers to equitable services, spaces, resources, and scholarship. (ACRL Plan for Excellence)
To support academic librarians and to align ACRL's strategic plan with ALA's Strategic Directions, the ACRL Board of Directors approved, in the fall 2018, a new Core Commitment to Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) to be added to the ACRL Plan for Excellence. The goal of the Core Commitment is for EDI to permeate all areas of the association, so that ACRL is poised to best support equitable, inclusive, and diverse librarianship. Through this commitment, ACRL will acknowledge and address historical racial inequities; challenge oppressive systems within academic libraries; value different ways of knowing; and identify and work to eliminate barriers to equitable services, spaces, resources, and scholarship. An overview of ACRL EDI activities can be found in the ACRL EDI LibGuide.
The ACRL Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee's is charged, "To oversee and coordinate ACRL’s Core Commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, as described in the strategic plan. Work with the Board and other units to initiate, advise and mobilize support for appropriate action related to issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in academic librarianship—including recruitment, advancement and retention of underrepresented groups to academic and research librarianship and the promotion of library and information services for diverse library users. This new charge was approved by the ACRL Board of Directors on April 25, 2019, and aligned the work of the committee from focusing on the ACRL Diversity Standards: Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries (2012) to supporting the Core Commitment.
Diversity Alliance Task Force
The ACRL Diversity Alliance Task Force was approved by the Board in June 2016, and in April 2020, the Board approved a new task force with an updated charge, tasks, and timeline. The task force roster was completed in September 2020, and work should begin in fall 2020.
ACRL/ARL/ODLOS/PLA Building Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity Framework Task Force
ACRL, along with ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS); the Public Library Association (PLA); and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), launched a Call for Volunteers in September 2019, and formed a Joint Task Force to develop a framework for cultural proficiencies in racial equity. The Building Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity framework will serve as a foundational resource to help public and academic libraries build inclusive cultures, within libraries and their broader communities, through guidelines on the development and implementation of organizational policies and professional practices that support diverse libraries with a diverse workforce. When a draft Framework is available, a public call for comments will be shared by all four organizations. The timeline will include requests for comments in spring 2021, with the final document expected in summer 2021. More info on the task force can be found in Library Journal.
Board and Budget & Finance Working Group
A new ACRL Board and Budget & Finance Working Group was formed in fall 2020, which was charged to, "Further explore and study existing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) work across ACRL through a financial lens, and consider how to prioritize and fund social justice or antiracist work that will be beneficial to workforce development, training and professional development."
ACRL is active in advocating for policy and legislation through the ALA Washington Office, as well as through coalition work with groups such as the Open Access Working Group and the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) for joint work with ALA and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). To increase ACRL's visibility and influence in the arena of higher education policy development, legislation, and best practices, ACRL speaks out on important issues, including equity, diversity and inclusion. When ACRL signs a letter of support or responds to a request for comments, it is shared through ACRL communication channels, including ACRL Insider, and added to the ACRL Speaks Out webpage.
ACRL Supports APALA and ALA in Condemning Anti-Asian Hate Crimes (March 24, 2021)
ACRL stands in solidarity with the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and amplifies ALA’s Executive Board in recognizing and condemning anti-Asian hate crimes. ACRL affirms APALA’s March 3, 2021, statement which noted that the association “recognizes and strongly condemns the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes that have permeated our country over the past year. Our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities have been deeply impacted by attacks that have caused physical and psychological harm.”
ACRL supports ALA in condemning violence and racism towards Black people and all people of color. ACRL endorses the statement of the Black Caucus of The American Library Association (BCALA), which condemns the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers within the Minneapolis Police Department. ACRL endorses the statement of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, which denounces the rise in racism and xenophobia against Asians and Asian/Pacific Americans in wake of the outbreak of COVID-19.
ACRL Statement on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and the Print Collecting Imperative (October 7, 2020)
In keeping with its Core Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, ACRL recommends that North American research libraries continue to collect and preserve valuable print materials, even as the global COVID-19 crisis and associated financial circumstances may compel them to shift, at least temporarily, to digital formats where available. The association strongly urges libraries to take a deliberate, measured approach to any shift, temporary or permanent, toward an e-centric collection development model, an approach that balances fiscal exigencies with equity, diversity, and inclusion imperatives; takes full stock of the important research and teaching that cannot be accommodated through electronic resource collecting alone; and ensures support for continued print collecting in relevant areas.
The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Board of Directors is aware that ALA Midwinter attendees have reported experiencing violations of the conference Code of Conduct, including incidents of racism, harassment, and discrimination. We laud the strength of those who have shared their experiences to draw needed attention to violations, and we abhor the systemic inequities in our profession that have normalized discriminatory, harassing, and racist behaviors.
In March 2021, ACRL joined 36 other organizations to sign the ACLS Statement Condemning Anti-Asian Violence. ACRL stands with ACLS and is, "angry and saddened by the recent increase in incidents of violence against Asians and people of Asian descent in the United States and around the world.” ACLS and the signatories “encourage educators, lawmakers, and community leaders to take this moment to listen closely to Asian and Asian-American voices and work with them in stemming this latest scourge of prejudice and violence.”
We commit to learning more and we encourage you to learn more about ways to support anti-violence and anti-hate efforts against the Asian community:
Joint Statement on Legislative Efforts to Restrict Education about Racism in American History (June 16, 2021)
ACRL joined a number of organizations in co-signing an American Association of University Professors, the American Historical Association, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and PEN America joint statement stating their “firm opposition” to legislation, introduced in at least 20 states, that would restrict the discussion of “divisive concepts” in public education institutions. The statement notes that "Americans of all ages deserve nothing less than a free and open exchange about history and the forces that shape our world today, an exchange that should take place inside the classroom as well as in the public realm generally. To ban the tools that enable those discussions is to deprive us all of the tools necessary for citizenship in the twenty-first century."
Statement Urging Retraction of Executive Order Prohibiting the Inclusion of “Divisive Concepts” in Employee Training Sessions (October 13, 2020)
ACRL joined 28 organizations in signing onto a statement from the American Historical Association urging the retraction of the recent executive order prohibiting the inclusion of “divisive concepts” in employee training sessions carried out within the federal government and by federal contractors and grantees. The statement argues that "Rather than banning the 'divisive concepts' from any educational venue-whether a classroom, a museum, a national park, or a workplace training session-historians seek to draw public attention to these concepts so that they can be discussed, debated, and ultimately challenged. Unity is not achieved by pushing division under the rug; it can be won even in the face of difference."
The ACRL Board of Directors endorsed on August 26, 2019 an American Historical Association (AHA) statement on Domestic Terrorism, Bigotry, and History. The statement notes that “As the largest organization of professional historians in the world, the AHA condemns the recent deployment of histories invented in the interest of bigotry, violence, and division. Many critics of white nationalism have admirably insisted that ‘this is not who we are.’ If the statements of white nationalists do not reflect who Americans are or want to be, they do compose an undeniable part of our collective past. Those aspects of the nation’s heritage should be exposed and overcome, rather than ignored or celebrated. Knowledge of history can help Americans achieve that goal.”
“ACRL wholly supports the American Historical Association’s moving and timely statement on nativism, violence, and history,” said ACRL President Karen Munro of Simon Fraser University. “The sentiments addressed in the statement reflect our Core Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’s focus on acknowledging and addressing historical racial inequities.”
ACRL is one of more than 30 organizations to sign on in support of the AHA statement.
On May 27, 2020, the ACRL Board of Directors signed the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association's (APALA) statement, which "condemns (the) rise in xenophobia and racism due to the novel coronavirus outbreak." ACRL stands with APALA, and "rejects coronavirus-related hostility, anti-Asian stereotypes, and racism against Asians, Asian/Pacific Americans, or anyone perceived to be Asian." As of June 2020, over 800 individuals and organizations have signed the pledge.
On June 1, 2020, the ACRL Board of Directors endorsed the statement of the Black Caucus of The American Library Association (BCALA), which condemns the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers within the Minneapolis Police Department. The "Statement Condemning Increased Violence and Racism Towards Black Americans and People of Color" includes that "Since George Floyd is the latest in a long line of recent and historical violence against Black people in the United States, the BCALA takes this moment to encourage BCALA members to take proactive and preventative measures in the fight against racism."
In August 2019, the ACRL Board of Directors approved for ACRL to join eight organizations, institutions, and Native American communities to endorse the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials. The Protocols were developed by nineteen Native American and non-Native American archivists, librarians, museum curators, historians, and anthropologists and published in 2007 with support from the American Library Association Office for Diversity, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the National Library of Medicine, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, The Bay and Paul Foundations, the Northern Arizona University Institute for Native Americans, and Mary and P. David Seaman.
On July 24, 2018, ACRL joined the National Federation of the Blind and eight other library, research and advocacy organizations to express strong support of the passage of the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, S. 2559. The letter states that, “The implementing legislation embodies a consensus approach which balances the need to expand access to information for people who are blind around the world with the responsibility to properly safeguard the interests of rights holders.”
Oversees the ACRL Diversity Alliance and completes the following tasks: