Libraries are safe spaces, they serve communities made up of people with diverse backgrounds and needs. Recently, the values of librarianship and many core American values have been threatened by the new presidential administration. I’m not a “political person,” which in my mind means that I am not particularly outspoken about government policies or our political leaders; however, recent actions are so outrageous and contradictory to my beliefs (not just as a librarian but as a person) that I have recently signed petitions, attended community rallies/discussions, and reached out to several organizations that assist immigrants and refugees. Last month ALA’s Deputy Director released a statement that outlines the issues with the new administration’s policies and how the library community will respond. The full statement can be found on the ALA website here, see excerpt below:
“Our nation’s 120,000 public, academic, school and special libraries serve all community members, including people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities and the most vulnerable in our communities, offering services and educational resources that transform communities, open minds, and promote inclusion and diversity.”
Last month, BookRiot posted some examples of librarians resisting these policies by creating book displays highlighting kindness, diversity, and social awareness. Today, BookRiot shared a more subtle show of solidarity, an article by Alex Acks entitled “My Glorious Return to the Library.” Motivated by this tweet: “Ya’ll! If everyone in your family doesn’t have a library card, get them now. Low numbers are how they’ll justify $ cuts. #librariesresist,” Alex heads to the library to sign up for a library card. While it is crazy to me that library cards are not ubiquitous, I have come to realize that many people get their books and entertainment elsewhere. Regardless, I loved this article! The author explores his local library with a sense of wonder that everyone owns a bit of each book and his ultimate message really resonates with me: that an act of support, no matter how small, is important.
Spread the word- tell all your people to get a library card! They are free! It’s like a golden ticket allowing you to enter a treasure trove of books, movies, audiobooks, ebooks, articles, music, accurate news…you get the idea. Resist by supporting organizations in your town or city that build up communities. Because at the end of the day, these institutions create a legacy that no administration can break down, and it can all start by just signing up for a library card.