As a public service with deep roots in our community, Burlington Public Library is fully committed to creating a future free of racism and discrimination. We are deeply saddened that we live in such a discordant time that makes it necessary to plainly state what should be implicitly understood as basic rights for all people to equality, dignity, and respect. The Library belongs to everyone in our community.
Burlington Public Library Statement on Racism
With recent events in the United States and Canada, we are being challenged to take a critical look at the structure of our society, systemic racism, and racial insensitivity. The Library stands with the Black community, and all communities in Canada who have been divided and hurt by racism, social injustice, ignorance, and hatred.
The mission of Burlington Public Library is to inspire imagination, collaboration, and compassion to support an informed and literate society. It is the right of every resident to feel welcome in Library spaces, to find the information they want and need, and to lend their voice to productive, meaningful conversations to surmount prejudice in all its forms.
For over a century, Burlington Public Library has been a trusted civic institution, providing open, free, and equitable access to information to support learning and understanding, so that our society may replace ignorance with knowledge, intolerance with compassion, and inequity with justness.
We have a shared civic, social, and moral responsibility to do what we can to help eradicate systemic racism and promote universal acceptance through our collections, resources, services, and programs. We are more committed than ever in anchoring ourselves in this role in our community.
This starts with educating ourselves and our staff about the legacy of racial injustice. Some of this work began in 2017 with our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation and the training we initiated for all staff in this regard. We pledge to provide ongoing staff education and development to expose practices, procedures, and services with the aim to eliminate systemic racism and promote equity and inclusion. BPL has endorsed both the Canadian Urban Libraries Council Statement on Race & Social Equity and the Canadian Federation of Library Associations Position Statement on Diversity and Inclusion.
At this very emotional and difficult time in our history, we stand with our community to welcome conversations, reinforce our mission and values to promote equity, and decry intolerance and injustice. Our hope is that we can come together to learn and listen to be better, together.
With warm hearts and gratitude.
~ Burlington Public Library Board
The Library management team is taking steps to eliminate systemic racism and promote equity and inclusion across the organization and within the library sector. Areas of initial focus include:
- Review Library policies and procedures to identify and change any practices that contribute to systemic racism.
- Develop staff training around unconscious bias and racial insensitivity and the impact on service, programming, and collections development.
- Work with the larger library community to challenge Dewey classifications and subject headings.