January 16, 2021

Report: Boston Public Library Announces Plan to Address Systemic Racism and Inequity

From The Boston Globe:

The Board of Trustees of the Boston Public Library announced Tuesday that it unanimously ratified an action plan to make the library an antiracist organization.

The document affirms the library’s commitment to addressing systemic racism and inequity, and outlines the steps that will be taken, including reviewing the library’s hiring and recruitment strategies and acquisition policies.

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Library officials said the action plan was created with the input of of library staff, the board of trustees, and Karilyn Crockett, the city of Boston’s first chief of equity. It was ratified by the library’s board of trustees on Sept. 29.

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More From the BPL Statement: Boston Public Library Enacts Action Plan on Racial Equity

“At the entrances to the BPL’s Central Library and branches are etched the words “Free to All,” said David Leonard, BPL’s president. “This institution is founded on principles of inclusion and ensuring equal access to information, education, and opportunity. Every single day, we must put these words into practice, working to ensure that access is indeed, free to all. This moment calls us to formally stand against racism; as well as sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and all other forms of systemic oppression.” 

The Library is currently reviewing its acquisition policy to ensure the BPL’s collections are developed with an intentional focus on raising the voices of people of color through representation, inclusivity, and diversity. In support of this effort, the Boston Public Library Fund (BPLF)  the primary philanthropic arm of the BPL — recently received an anonymous $75,000 grant to support expanded access to the BPL’s Antiracist reading list. This funding allows the BPL to add additional digital copies of books on the Antiracist reading list, which will significantly reduce the patron wait times and increase accessibility to these items. 

As BPLF’s Executive Director, Paula Sakey, explains, “The BPL and BPLF are committed to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion and the funding we receive will provide us with another important opportunity to share the power of the Library to commit to structural change and to taking action to end systemic racism and injustice.” 

Direct to Complete Statement

Direct to Full Text of BPL’s “Racial Equity Commitment & Action Plan”

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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