The Mount Royal University Library stands in solidarity with the Black community and everyone who has stood up against anti-Black racism and police brutality in recent weeks. The killing of George Floyd and many others including Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour across the United States and Canada is a devastating reminder of the deadly impact of systemic white supremacy.
Libraries are sometimes imagined as places of neutrality: this narrative is false. Libraries, like universities, are part of the power structure that centres whiteness in our society and reinforces its privileges.
We have an obligation to dismantle oppressive narratives and structures and engage in actions that create change. We believe change will not happen with hopeful thoughts and vague aspirations. Protests from around the world have shown us that action is required and is something we are all capable of implementing in our personal and professional lives.
As a Library, we provide resources that inspire learners to seek answers and uplift voices determined to make a difference. A sincere quest to unravel long standing systemic oppression takes time but we have identified specific ways we can act today.
We Commit To:
- Intensifying efforts to acquire library materials that challenge anti-Black racism and systemic oppression, by immediately establishing a dedicated annual collections fund for this purpose, with a priority of purchasing materials written by Black authors.
- Improving findability of Library materials by updating existing descriptions, subject headings, and classifications referring to works by and about Black people. Outdated descriptive terms found in library metadata are a problematic inheritance from past generations, and must be changed.
- Reaching out to student advocacy groups on campus engaged in the Black Lives Matter movement and other anti-racist efforts to learn about their work and how the Library can support them.
- Ensuring training for Library employees in identifying and confronting racism and systemic oppression, and engaging in making meaningful change.
- Reviewing policies, procedures, and priorities across the Library to identify and change practices that may reinforce systemic racism or exclude marginalized members of the Library community.
- Advocating for and supporting institutional changes that have the power to actively contribute to the success, safety, and opportunities for current and future Black students, academics, and professionals at MRU.
Black Lives Matter.