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Message from 2020 President Michele Legate

Posted By Christi Buker, Wednesday, June 3, 2020

A message from our 2020 President Michele Legate…


Members of the Pennsylvania Library Association,

I have wrestled with this message for too long and realize that sometimes we must say something, even when it may not be perfect. The death of George Floyd is a clear reminder that racial inequities continue to exist in the US. It is hard to convey in brief words how we feel when people of color are treated with such injustice. As a white woman, I know that my words are wholly insufficient compared to the experiences of my colleagues, friends, and valued community of color. Please know that while I struggle to find the right words to express my outrage on this injustice, I am committed to facing the work that needs to be done.

The depth and complexity of these issues are significant. Right now, it is vital that we take steps forward to address inequities within our own profession and community. The 2019 Pennsylvania Library Association Board of Directors took the first step when it approved a statement on equity, diversity and inclusion, listed below and posted on our homepage.

This was just the beginning, and we acknowledge that there is still much work to do; we need your help to make meaningful progress within the Association and among library staff across Pennsylvania. After the initial work of the 2019 task force, the Board also approved that work should continue and established an on-going committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). Robbin Degeratu, a member of the original task force, is chairing the new committee. We are actively recruiting members of the Association who have the time, commitment, and willingness to work on the challenges around EDI.

If you are interested in helping, please send an email to Robbin (use the member search to locate her email) as soon as possible, but no later than June 15. As the committee size each year will be limited, it would be helpful if you would indicate what chapter you are from, type of library (academic, public, school, other), type of community (urban, rural, suburban), and any background, skills, or experience that might be helpful on the committee.

“The Pennsylvania Library Association will actively and intentionally pursue, promote and champion equity, diversity, and inclusion within the organization and within the profession so that our association, libraries, librarians, and library staff will all thrive.”

We know we have a long way to go, but I am confident that the justice-minded, creative, and passionate library community will find ways to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion within our own profession. You are welcome to reach me via email (use the member search).

I understand that I will never understand. But, I stand. And I will listen.

Michele Legate, 2020 President, Pennsylvania Library Association

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Kelli S. Knapp says...
Posted Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Thank you for taking a stand. I'm with you!
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