The Middlebury Libraries take seriously our responsibility to disavow racism in our country and in our work. We want to acknowledge the pain of the Black community who experience prejudice and injustice, oppression, and violence, and we stand in solidarity with them.
We acknowledge that this statement alone will not resolve enduring injustices, that conversations about racism and white supremacy are difficult, and that those who work in libraries and archives are disproportionately white. We don’t want these uncomfortable truths to stop us from holding ourselves accountable to the challenging work of anti-racism. While we work to hire and retain a staff that reflects the diversity of the community we serve, we also commit to doing this work in the following ways:
- We acknowledge that libraries and archives are not neutral, and have served—sometimes inadvertently, other times intentionally—as instruments of exclusion, colonialism, and assimilation, and we will identify ways both large and small to undo this harm.
- We will review and revise outdated and racist catalog, metadata, and finding aid descriptions.
- We will review and revise our curatorial and collection development strategies to build up Black and other marginalized voices.
- In our physical spaces, online, and through social media, we will put front and center the voices, experiences, and works of Black, Indigenous, and POC authors from the U.S. and the world through exhibits and displays.
- Because the College Archives bears a special responsibility to document the persisting injustices of our current time, we will amplify underrepresented voices by collecting and documenting student activism, student experiences, and anti-racist work.
- Beginning with the resources shared by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we will work with the community to curate lists of resources for self-guided learning focused on race, racism, and disrupting white supremacy, and to promote sustained engagement with these resources within the curriculum and independent research.
This plan is just a beginning. We invite feedback and suggestions from our community to help us in our efforts to advance anti-racist practices in our libraries. Suggest materials that we should acquire. Propose displays and exhibits. Contribute to our efforts to share anti-racist readings and resources. Point us to materials to add to our archives. While these commitments are long-overdue, we commit to finding meaningful ways to contribute, and to holding ourselves accountable through setting specific goals, and regularly measuring progress towards these goals.
Ann Flower, Director, William Tell Coleman Library, Middlebury Institute
Rebekah Irwin, Curator and Director, Special Collections & Archives
Carrie Macfarlane, Director of Research and Instruction
Mike Roy, Dean of the Middlebury Libraries
Terry Simpkins, Director, Discovery & Access Services
July 1, 2020