*** UPDATE June 17, 2016 ***
As many of us prepare to attend the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, we cannot share often enough our sympathy and heartfelt concern for those directly and indirectly affected by the murders and injuries at the Pulse nightclub last weekend. Many of those slain and hurt were part of the higher education community as students or relatives of students. The ACRL Presidents wish to extend our appreciation to the membership for its many expressions of support and the work you all have done, and will continue to engage in, to contribute to the Orlando community not only in the coming conference week but in the weeks to come. Whether through the statements of ALA President Sari Feldman; the Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; the work of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT); or ALA headquarters flying the rainbow flag in solidarity and support, we want you to know we are proud to be a profession that embraces diversity and inclusion through our words and deeds.
*** UPDATE June 14, 2016 ***
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is saddened and horrified by the tragic murder of 49 people and the wounding of dozens of others in a shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016. Most of the victims were Latinx members of the LGBTQ community, for whom gay nightclubs like Pulse served as vital sanctuaries—safe havens from a society still subject to homophobia and racism.The Association and its member libraries remain committed to likewise providing safe and inclusive spaces to all members of our communities, while also working—via education, policy, and advocacy—to reduce oppression and promote equality and social justice in and through our libraries
Here’s the full text of a statement we just received from ALA HQ (June 13, 2016):
American Library Association (ALA) President Sari Feldman released the following statement regarding the tragic mass shooting at Pulse, a popular GLBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
“The library community is deeply saddened by the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando,” said Feldman. “Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and friends, and the GLBTQ community.
“Our nation’s libraries serve communities with equity, dignity and respect. ALA will carry this legacy to Orlando. In defiance of fear, ignorance and intolerance, the library community will continue its profound commitment to transforming communities by lending its support.
“In less than two weeks the ALA will host its Annual Conference and Exhibition at the Orange County Convention Center. We will work collaboratively with the leaders of ALA’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT); ethnic caucuses; and executive office to discuss our expressions of support. ALA Conference Services has reached out to our convention center partners and are working closely with them and local authorities to ensure that we will have a safe and secure conference.
“As the ALA prepares, I can’t help but recall past conferences where attendees rolled up their sleeves to foster change. ALA conference attendees were on the front lines of relief and social justice efforts as they supported New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; Toronto during the SARS virus outbreak; and now continuing their support in Orlando despite this weekend’s senseless act of violence. We will actively reach out to local groups in Orlando to determine the most effective ways we can lend support and contribute to the healing.
“Librarians and library workers are community leaders, motivators and social change agents. During the conference attendees will hold the power to influence social change by means of example. Members will have an opportunity to support the people of Orlando by wearing armbands in support of diversity, equality and inclusion; volunteering for community relief projects; and supporting local minority owned businesses. The ALA also is currently working on efforts to support an onsite blood drive and Read-Out event.
“You can make a difference regardless of whether you attend the ALA Annual Conference. In a tragedy, we often feel overwhelmed or powerless, but within the next few days the ALA Annual Conference website at http://2016.alaannual.org will empower members to give support. The site will provide a list of relief organizations supporting Orlando shooting victims and their families. The site also will have information regarding ALA diversity and inclusion resources.
“Like the libraries we represent, the profession’s commitment to supporting communities, social justice, and abolishing intolerance is unwavering.”