As many of our readers know, I’m a librarian. And while I absolutely love my job, sometimes it gets extremely frustrating to see just how liberal 99.9% of the profession is. And that’s creeping into how libraries are run these days.
Yesterday, Library Journal tweeted piece by an academic librarian who proclaimed that library collections are contributing to white supremacy. In the essay, Sofia Leung charges the library with keeping people of color out.
“If you look at any United States library’s collection, especially those in higher education institutions, most of the collections (books, journals, archival papers, other media, etc.) are written by white dudes writing about white ideas, white things, or ideas, people, and things they stole from POC and then claimed as white property,” she muses.
She then goes on to say that even the money that purchases materials for library collections comes from “ill-gotten” means at the “cost of black and brown lives.”
Library collections continue to promote and proliferate whiteness with their very existence and the fact that they are physically taking up space in our libraries. They are paid for using money that was usually ill-gotten and at the cost of black and brown lives via the prison industrial complex, the spoils of war, etc. Libraries filled with mostly white collections indicates that we don’t care about what POC think, we don’t care to hear from POC themselves, we don’t consider POC to be scholars, we don’t think POC are as valuable, knowledgeable, or as important as white people.
Some other Twitter users discovered that Library Journal is run by a bunch of white people, which makes this article even more ridiculous.
"Library collections continue to promote and proliferate whiteness with their very existence…"
Library Journal is run by Media Source Inc.
"Meet the team"
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) April 17, 2019
While I firmly believe the library is a place for everyone, no matter color, religion, or sexual orientation, things in the profession are starting to border on insanity lately. And as far as collection development goes, librarians can purchase all the books by people of color that they want, but if the patrons don’t read them, they’re going to end up going to the book sale in a few years.
Here are some of the more interesting responses to the original tweet.
As a librarian, I wish I could disagree with these comments or defend my profession, but I can't. I've watched librarianship swan dive off the leftist cliff. And pat themselves on their backs as they freefall. Which is why I'm planning a career change.
— (((Dorothy Reed))) (@daisyroisin) April 17, 2019
I am an ex-librarian of color, never was accepted into the field bc librarianship rejects intellectual diversity. I left & am so much happier not having extreme lefist ideas forced on me by LJ & @ALALibrary Good bye virtue signaling librarians!! #leavelibrarianship
— EvanaBanana (@infoobsession) April 17, 2019
Is she… Is she calling for the burning of books? https://t.co/tfihtKQj6m
— Matt Kilcoyne 😄 (@MRJKilcoyne) April 17, 2019
Ah, books, the white people thing. Trying and failing to think of a more vile and condescending take https://t.co/TcHS0kz13v
— Matthew Walther (@matthewwalther) April 17, 2019