CHICAGO — On Saturday, Jan. 21, at the 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta, the Public Library Association (PLA) Board approved the creation of a PLA Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
Co-chaired by Richard Kong, director, Skokie (Illinois) Public
Library and Amita Lonial, principal librarian, San Diego (California)
County Library, the task force has been charged with developing a
strategic and coordinated approach for PLA related to issues of equity,
diversity and inclusion (EDI). The task force will explore methods and
consider resources to be developed that will allow PLA to take a
multifaceted approach. Task force activities include but are not limited
to: making recommendations for how EDI content is integrated into PLA
programs; elevating successful libraries as models to generate and share
best practices; identifying ways PLA might influence equity and
inclusion within public libraries; and helping libraries serve diverse
communities and staff.
“The current political and social climate is shining a harsh light on
just how much we fall short of a truly equitable, diverse, and
inclusive profession and society,” said Kong. “It is imperative that we
take an honest look at this reality and take concrete steps to bring
long-lasting, meaningful changes that will advance equity, diversity and
inclusion in both our profession and the communities we serve.”
Lonial added, “Public libraries have a legacy of embracing and
advancing social justice. Recent events have libraries asking what that
looks like in this political moment and how we can more authentically
engage our core values of equity, diversity and inclusion. Our hope is
that the task force can help to facilitate that dialogue and provide
concrete tools and resources for public libraries of all types and sizes
to participate and go deeper.”
Public libraries have a unique and unparalleled ability to bring
people and knowledge together. PLA is committed to its core values of
openness and inclusiveness and supports the recent statement
from the American Library Association (ALA), opposing the new
administration’s policies that contradict core library values. The PLA
Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will work to strengthen
the organization’s commitment to its core values, while ensuring issues
of EDI remain a top priority.
The task force will report to the PLA Board of Directors at least
twice per year. After two years, the board will review the work of the
task force and recommend continuation, sunsetting, or creation of a
standing committee. The task force will meet at the 2017 ALA Annual
Conference in Chicago (Illinois) and work virtually beforehand.
Appointments are currently being finalized.
For more information, contact the PLA office at (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA.