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Libraries' Statement on Anti-Black Racism

Our commitment and values

We commit to making all aspects of the Libraries - our services, our collections, and our spaces - more inclusive and equitable. Therefore, we will actively challenge the often-perpetuated notion that libraries are neutral and work together to build a community that upholds our collective values.

We strive to engage in continuous, lifelong learning about anti-Black racism, as well as other forms of systemic oppression, and investigate how white privilege and complicity enables these oppressions. We acknowledge that this practice requires individual self-examination, as well as larger analysis of social dynamics. We resolve to hold one another accountable and to address historical inequities and facilitate a more equitable experience in the libraries for our community.

For this reason, we formed an Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) Committee, in partnership with College Librarian Peggy Seiden, to address how to move forward, educate ourselves, and take action.

What We've Been Working On

  • Creating a list of diverse job boards where all future Swarthmore Library openings will be listed.
  • Fostering a culture of empathizing with our users and critically examining our practices in applying Library of Congress Subject Headings, classifications, and other descriptive language.
  • Curating community resources guides such as Native American Heritage Month, Juneteenth, and Natural Hair Journeys in an effort to recognize and provide resources about BIPOC experiences and expertise.
  • Maintaining our community guide of Anti-Racism Resources that includes access to online resources about systemic racism, justice, and equity.

We Want to Hear from you!

We recognize the bias inherent in our infrastructure, notably in the white origins of the academy, libraries, and librarianship. Confronting this bias requires us to examine our own practices as well as take part in conversations and ongoing efforts in the broader academic landscape.

As we strive to improve our IDEA work, we want to solicit feedback from members of the Swarthmore Campus Community. Please use this form to let us know how we can improve and enact our commitment to making the libraries more inclusive. The form will be monitored regularly by members of our library team and responded to accordingly. We appreciate your thoughtfulness and feedback.

Issues with individuals, either within or outside the libraries, should be reported on the Swarthmore College Bias Incident Reporting Form.