It helps to be reminded.

Thank you to Tracie D. Hall for her article ‘Race and Place’ in the February issue of American Libraries. She put a very human perspective on the effects of the unequal distribution of resources to libraries that serve African-Americans.

I am engaged in a job search and yesterday I expressed in a cover letter that one reason I chose to work in libraries  is because, “I wanted a public service career. Libraries represent one of our society’s best efforts to uphold the ideals of freedom of information and equality of access. It’s an opportunity to serve the community in a very meaningful way.” Later in the day when I read this article I was reminded of what I had written. I’m proud of the ideals that are held so dearly by the library profession, but idealism doesn’t make it so. 

Here in North Carolina, the editorial pages of the Charlotte Observer have been in an uproar because a student, who is exemplary by any standard, said ‘The Pledge of Allegiance’ in Spanish, in a public venue, because he was asked to. I don’t understand the vitriolic response that this event has caused. However, it’s clear that it will take more than idealism to put into practice what is so easily expressed in words. Libraries have the opportunity be out front in the struggle for equality, and it was nice of Ms. Hall to remind me.


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