Anti-Racism Statement

General Statement

The Grinnell College Libraries (GCL) strive to be locations of abundant welcome by rejecting white supremacy, racism and other forms of hate and bias. While libraries as cultural institutions have long championed free and open access to accurate and unbiased information, the GCL recognizes that this work continues to be shaped by a legacy of systemic racism and implicit bias. GCL faculty and staff will continuously work to dismantle racism and discrimination in the libraries, on campus, in our communities and in society in our efforts to respectfully embrace our shared humanity. We are committed to contributing to a campus community where all can work and learn freely, safely and productively, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, origin, citizenship status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, economic status, veteran status, or ability.

Actions

If the GCL community is to be truly anti-racist and inclusive of all members of our community, we must continually examine our values, physical spaces, programming, systems, and methodologies by:

  • Acknowledging that libraries and archives are not neutral and have served as instruments of exclusion, colonialism, and assimilation, and by identifying ways both large and small to undo this harm.
  • Reviewing and revising outdated and racist catalog, metadata, and finding aid descriptions.
  • Reviewing and revising our collection development and curatorial strategies to build up collections by authors of color, and documenting the lives of women, trans, non-binary and gender nonconforming People of Color and other historically underrepresented peoples.
  • In our physical spaces, online, and through social media, putting front and center the voices, experiences, and works of Black, Indigenous, and POC authors from the U.S. and the world through exhibits and displays.
  • Supporting and promoting student, faculty, and staff voices, work, social justice activism, and contributions to intellectual life on campus.
  • Facilitating comprehensive research about the history of the region and founding of the college, made public through the library archives.
  • Fostering an inclusive learning and working community through accessible spaces, resources, and events seamlessly accessible to faculty, students, and visitors regardless of ability and individual circumstances.
  • Reaffirming our commitment to critical information literacy as the core of our teaching to equip our community with the skills needed to question and combat disinformation.

Links to Other Library Organization and Grinnell College Statements

The Faculty and Staff of Grinnell College Libraries support the Association of College & Research Libraries, the American Library Association, and the Society of American Archivists in condemning violence and racism towards Black people and all people of color. We endorse 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. We endorse the statement of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), which denounces the rise in racism and xenophobia against Asians and Asian/Pacific Americans in wake of the outbreak of COVID-19. We endorse the REFORMA Statement on Solidarity with BCALA and APALA. We affirm Grinnell College’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and to advancing the production and dissemination of knowledge and exchange of ideas for the well-being of individuals and of society at large. We endorse the recommendations in the Disability and Accessibility at Grinnell College: Task Force Accomplishments and Future Challenges. Future Link to Land Acknowledgement statement. Current one being used: Grinnell College exists on the ancestral territory of the Meskwaki, Sauk, and Iowa peoples, whose land was taken from them through the encroachment of white settlers and then formally in 1845 through government land concessions that were part of an official government policy known as Indian removal. Today, members of the Meskwaki nation continue to live, work, and raise families on the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama County, Iowa, less than 30 miles from Grinnell College.

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