In recent days, we in the U of M Libraries have dived into deep conversations as we mourn the murder of George Floyd. We also have been mourning the continued devastating and systemic racism against Black lives and all people of color in our country.

We must recognize our responsibility to make a difference, to not simply analyze racial injustice but also to listen to people of color in our community and be a part of the solutions they propose. We in the U of M Libraries cannot be complacent about racism. As individuals we are committed to actions that reject racism and embrace social justice, and those are our values for our Libraries as well. We must be anti-racist, foster diversity, provide equity, and ensure inclusion.

As President Gabel said on June 3, “We share in the grief and pain, as well as in the responsibility to do more and do better.” I promise we will. We will continue to support librarians of color throughout the country through our sponsorship of the Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians from Traditionally Underrepresented Groups. We will support and sustain projects such as Umbra Search and Mapping Prejudice. We will do more to ensure that our students have access to diverse viewpoints through our collections. We will make a commitment to listening to, and taking guidance from, the people of color in our broader communities (our Libraries, all libraries, the U, the Twin Cities, and our state) to create a space for learning that is secure physically, emotionally, and intellectually. And we commit to creating a more diverse workforce by re-examining our hiring practices and through all the actions we pursue.

Antiracism is a journey, as Ibram X. Kendi tells us in How to Be an Antiracist, and we commit to identifying and addressing the ways white supremacy manifests itself throughout all aspects of librarianship. We must be accountable for this work. Our U Office for Equity and Diversity says: We all share responsibility for equity and diversity — it’s everybody’s everyday work. We are committed to making this a priority for the University of Minnesota Libraries.

—Lisa German
University Librarian and Dean of Libraries


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