Report From Arizona: “Why This ‘Radical Librarian’ Believes Libraries, to Address Inequity, Should Keep Buildings Closed”
After more than a year of services limited to curbside pickup and drop-off services, the Phoenix Public Library has reopened some in-building services, including computer use, access to Wi-Fi hotspots and checking out materials.
The City Council this month unanimously approved a plan that will return in-building visits to 16 library branches. Other libraries in Arizona, including Maricopa County Libraries and the Glendale and Scottsdale city libraries, also restored some indoor services as pandemic restrictions eased.
Phoenix library representatives have said they’re happy to welcome back patrons and have worked with health officials to establish safety protocols for employees and visitors.
But Fobazi Ettarh, 31, who calls herself a radical librarian working in “librarianship, education, activism, and all the intersections in between,” says restoring in-person services in libraries ignores longstanding inequities that need long-term solutions. If libraries return to operating as before the pandemic, she says, it would mean Americans are content to continue to rely on libraries to fill gaps in social services.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.